Veterans Voices

What's Right with Schools: High School in the Community Lessons Taught through Veterans Experience

NEW HAVEN, Conn (WTNH) - Take a seat in Jack Stacey’s Vietnam history class, and you'll be given a perspective not many students get. 

“What everybody thinks, it's going to be a short war, is going to turn into America's longest war,” said Stacey. 

Stacey was radio operator in Vietnam, calling in airstrikes. 

A Marine who was front and center to one of America’s bloodies and most divisive times. 

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“Being in Jack's class, I've had the opportunity to really experience history and not have it read to me off a book,” said senior Allison Diana. 

He’s been teaching high school in the New Haven community for fifteen years. It's a place that’s allowed him to pass on what he’s lived through. 

"I think this is one of the only institutions where they come around...every May or so and say - any ideas you want to teach? The idea being if there is something you are very passionate about you are going to really get into it,” said Stacey. 

Students have embraced what Stacey brings to their time in high school.

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For many, he is the teacher they will always remember. 

“You have so much to learn from him and has lived so many things and has so much to impart on you,” said Rachel Christman. 

For Stacey, what he does remembers can be difficult. 

"This is actually therapeutic for me. One of the things we talk about a great deal is the difference in the homecoming. Vietnam veterans came home really 48-72 hours prior you could have been in a firefight. All sudden you are home...there is nobody to talk to. And so, you kept it inside,” said Stacey. 

With a school full of students eager to listen, teaching provides a purposed to turn painful memories into powerful lessons. 

“When I got here, and was able to teach this class...I was finally able to talk about it,” said Stacey.


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