High school history teacher has students bring history of 1968 to life





NORTH BRUNSWICK - The Tet Offensive. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam War. Space exploration. Rioting at the Democratic Convention. The Olympics in Mexico. The civil rights and women's movements. The Orangeburg Massacre.

The year was 1968, and the United States - and the world - was witnessing numerous political, social and economic events that changed the course of history. This is why three different classes at North Brunswick Township High School have collaborated efforts to create a Web site, www.1968nbt.com, to chronicle the experiences of local residents who lived through that tumultuous year.

"Our goal is to create a permanent record of local history on the Internet," said Sidney Dawson, a history teacher at the high school. "Viewers will be able to download their videos to their computers or iPods to gain a better understanding of history."

The project technically began in January, when Dawson saw a documentary on the History Channel about 1968. He watched Tom Brokaw interview different subjects, "and I thought it was something my students could do," he said.

So, in April, Dawson's U.S. History II students conducted interviews with Lou Ann Benson, director of the North Brunswick Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Services; high school business teacher Ronald Burtnick; Social Studies teacher Peter Conlon; Phyllis Giglio, the mother of a high school employee; high school classroom aide Louise Labos; John Norcia, the father of a high school teacher and the owner of a North Brunswick-based trucking company; Kenneth Smutko, the father of a high school teacher; and high school Assistant Principal and Social Studies Administrator Horace Thorne.


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