Lincoln High School Students Gain Connection with Nebraska Vietnam Veterans

News Release Date: 
April 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

Lincoln High School Students Gain Connection with Nebraska Vietnam Veterans

LINCOLN, Neb. (April 16, 2018) – In a world that is increasingly digital and fast-paced, some Lincoln High School students are gaining a valuable human connection with local veterans. The Vietnam Poetry Project The Vietnam Poetry Project

The Vietnam Poetry Project -- made possible through a grant from the Lincoln Community Foundation -- paired nine student poets with eight Vietnam veterans and one Gold Star family member.

The goal: to examine the impact of the Vietnam War on the men and women who lived through the fighting. Veterans shared their stories of survival and filled in the story for students beyond what is found in school textbooks.

Chris Maly, Lincoln High School English department chair, collaborated with NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations, and Red Rebel Media to execute the project.

LHS Student Jack Buchanan and Vietnam Veteran Vincent OrdunaLHS Student Jack Buchanan and Vietnam Veteran Vincent Orduna “Young people are losing a bit of human connection, but by sitting across from someone, you can see the dignity and complexity of their experience,” Maly said. “It becomes very real.”

To culminate the project, the community is invited to watch excerpts and formal presentations of The Vietnam Poetry Project at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 29 at the Lincoln High School auditorium, 2229 J St. in Lincoln.

While April is National Poetry Month, the performance also takes place the day before the anniversary of the Fall of Saigon (April 30, 1975), marking the end of the Vietnam War.

Maly is project director of the performance and developed the curriculum for the project. He selected students for the project based on their passion for writing, their interest in the Vietnam War and willingness to interview a local veteran. Each piece illustrates the experiences and narratives of those who served the United States in Vietnam.The Vietnam Poetry Project paired nine student poets with eight Vietnam veterans and one Gold Star family member.The Vietnam Poetry Project paired nine student poets with eight Vietnam veterans and one Gold Star family member.

“The project was completed entirely outside of daily school activities and illustrates their pride and dedication to the project,” Maly said. “I hope this project encourages increased dialogue between generations, an appreciation for our elders and their services and a life-long interest in the experiences of men, women and families who sacrificed and served so that others could live free.”

Lincoln High School seniors included: Jack Buchanan, Joanna Calel, Bailey Havlat, Karina Hinkley, Cora Holt, Sam Hupp, Callie McCright, Che Rodriguez and Bailey You Rim Steinbach.

Nebraska Vietnam Veterans included: Jim Cada of Lincoln, Cheryl Feala of North Bend, Paul Freeman of Lincoln, Mike Kelley of Lincoln, James McGrath of Lincoln, Dau Nguyen of Lincoln, Vincent Orduna of Papillion, Marty Ramirez of Lincoln and Gold Star son: Dave Bruck of Papillion.

Mike Semrad, local filmmaker, songwriter and owner of Red Rebel Media recorded, edited and wrote the original score for the conversations between the veterans and the students.

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CONTACT: Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578, skarstens@netNebraska.org

NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations

NET is Nebraska's statewide public media service dedicated to creating opportunities for Nebraskans to engage with critical issues, compelling stories and quality entertainment. NET serves each of Nebraska’s 93 counties with 52,560 hours of programming each year on four television and two radio channels, plus online and mobile content. In addition to providing free, high-quality educational programming for children, NET provides programming in the arts, award-winning news and current affairs information and emergency alert services. For more information about NET, visit netNebraska.org.