Cecelia Zielke returns from National History Day journey in Normandy, receives full scholarship to Case Western University

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Cecelia Zielke competed at the national competition for National History Day with fellow students Ashley Thyes and Ben Guesneau at College Park Maryland from June 10 – 14, 2018.

Cecelia was honored with one of the top awards – a full four-year scholarship to Case Western University in Ohio. Both of her parents Bridgitt and Steve were there to share in this honor.

Cecelia, along with Kohler teacher Matt Bayens, have also returned from their amazing experience as part of the Normandy Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute. There were 15 student/teacher teams selected from across the county that participated.

Ashley Thyes, Cecelia Zielke, Ben Guesneau

For the first leg of the experience, six days were spent at George Washington University in Washington D.C. attending workshops and lectures on World War II and Operation Overlord. Cecelia also conducted research at the National Archives with the guidance of volunteer Mr. Ken Whitney.

The next part of the journey included six days spent in France (Normandy) where students and teachers visited various museums, landmarks, and other points of interest associated with D-Day as well as having a chance to actually be on the beaches of Normandy. The students/teacher groups were led by Dr. Thomas Long from George Washington University, along with National History Day staff members Dr. Cathy Gorn (Executive Director of NHD), Lynne O’Hara and Erika Washington.

Cecelia Zielke at Normandy American Cemetery

The students gave briefings about their Silent Hero, and graveside eulogies at the Normandy American Cemetery. Cecelia’s and Mr. Bayens’ Silent Hero was Corporal Joseph Briggeman from Cashton, Wisconsin, who served in the 342nd Engineering Corps. Matt Bayens said it was a very moving and emotional experience.

As a follow up to this experience, Cecelia is putting together a website honoring Joseph Briggeman that will be part of the National Archives, and she and Mr. Bayens will be giving at least three presentations throughout the school year regarding Corporal Briggeman, the Sacrifice for Freedom Institute and Operation Overlord.

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