Bergen County educator Leah Jerome, from the Pascack Valley Regional School District, was awarded a $2,500 grant to carry out a project to create a permanent display that honors alumni veterans and currently active servicemen and women at Pascack Valley Regional High School in Hillsdale. This grant has been designated as the Jack Bertolino Grant for its focus on social studies and civics. Jack Bertolino was a beloved NJEA director, staff member, and teacher who passed away. This grant recognizes his commitment to public service.

The goal of this grant is to empower students to research the past and connect with community members about alumni veterans and about those who died in service to our country. The History Club, will be integral to research those servicemen and women. The students will research; who are our veterans, can we get pictures of all of them, and what are their names and areas of service?” There is no marker, recognition, or memorial to these individuals.

To accomplish this display, students, in collaboration with Leah as the advisor and building administrators, have designed a veteran display for the walls in the entrance to our school. Blueprints will need to be finalized for the construction of the permanent display, and exact parameters approved by school administration. Materials will then need to be purchased and arrangements have been discussed with a local company. The construction of this project will then be completed through donated labor.

Students in the History Club will continue to enhance this project by gaining more information on veterans, specifically those who died in service to our country.

The goal is that, when teaching about events like the Vietnam War, the story of the past is humanized for students. The ability to connect students to this history is something they can never get out of a textbook.

For more information, contact:

Leah Jerome, Project Coordinator
201-358-7060 (School)

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