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‘You can feel the history’ 

World War I letters give Chesterfield students hands-on lesson 

By Greg McQuade
via the WTVR-TV Richmond, VA web site

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Some sixth graders at Providence Middle School in Chesterfield County are getting a hands-on history lesson thanks to dozens of century-old letters from World War I.

Every other day Ms. Jennifer Covais’ students arrive to crunch numbers as they immerse themselves in the past using authentic dispatches written from war-torn France during WW I.

The author, Johnny Cawthra, was a disabled clerk with American Express who could not serve in the military because he was blind in one eye.

“They love writing. It's an elective. It is an honors writing class,” Covais said. "I like to make memories with my kids."

Students are transcribing Cawthra’s observations that range from his visits with wounded soldiers in a hospital and watching President Wilson to witnessing the ravages of war.

Student Karina Murcia said Cawthra's letters "describes the places.”

“It's pretty cool because I’ve never held anything this old,” Sterling Brummer said.

Read the entire article on the WTVR-TV web site here:

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