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What Are We Attempting Do?

By: Paige Devine

A high school student is usually under the impression that a United States history class will only consist of learning about the country's past by listening to lectures and watching movies.  However, juniors at Palo Alto High School were given both an exciting opportunity and a challenge to do something more than simply take notes during a lecture.  Not only had no other students ever researched the artifacts that we were going to be researching on but no other person had ever done research on the valuable papers that our teacher was able to cunningly acquire.  
Mr. David Rapaport's classes were given some simple pieces of paper with about 50 signatures on it.  Some of the signatures were legible and dated while others looked absolutely unreadable. Some people may have just sat and wondered how to start, but our class jumped at the challenge to find out more about these mysterious papers.  We jumped at the chance to find out what these pieces of paper were, why people had signed them, and who the people who had signed the papers were.  
After a short period of time and a lot of hard work. Mr. Rapaport's classes were able to find out what was on these delicate papers.  We found out, from the help of the Internet, especially on-line newspapers, such as The New York Times, that the papers were the signatures of some astounding World War Two generals or in other words, they were simply signatures of war.  Our classes were also able to complete our other goals by figuring out when the papers were signed and why they were signed.  We found that the papers were from the United States' War Department and they used to be a sort of check in sheet for the generals when they visited the War Department.  
The way that we discovered all of this information was by using the Internet and on-line newspapers such as the New York Times On-line.  We tracked General Papagos because he had dated his signature and we were able to discover that he was visiting the United States and he was going to the United States' War Department during the time that he had dated on the papers.
Our classes were very pleased with our success of finding where the papers were from and what they were signed for because we really worked hard at trying to understand the papers together as a class room.   We were all proud that we could come to an answer so quickly and we were all very thankful for such helpful tools such as the Internet and some outstanding World War Two books.  
Mr. Rapaport's classes were given a special project that will not be forgotten by the students and will not be forgotten by society either because we were able to post this website on the web for most eyes to see and learn from.   It is truly a gift to be able to bring knowledge to others and we were able to because of this project and website.   


 Picture obtained at: paloaltoonline.com/sports/teampage.php?tid=35

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