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Bronxville News

Student With Her Family History
Bronxville, NY

Bronxville High School juniors completed extensive research of their own family history as part of an assignment in Chris Doyle’s U.S. History class. The students’ research focused on their grandparents or great-grandparents who lived during the 1920s-1950s.

“The purpose of the project was to see how the roaring 1920s, the Depression and World War II affected their family and to see the connections they can make between what was happening in history and what was happening to their family members,” Doyle said.

During their research, the students interviewed family members, included pictures of their family from that time and made connections to what they read about in their textbooks. 

“What stood out most was the amazing stories the students discovered that they were not aware of and how many connections to history the students could make,” Doyle said. “I hope they took away that they and their family are part of history and their families have changed history as much as it has changed them.”

As part of his research, Miles Courtney learned about his great-grandfather who was an artist and modelmaker in the Navy in World War II. After the war he continued to be an artist and worked in film, most notably creating the ending sequence for “Planet of the Apes” (1968). Marco Sandilya learned about his great-grandfather, who was president of India and knighted by King George V of England. Jake Adkins’ great-grandfather was from England and won a gold medal at the 1938 British Empire Games and competed in the 1948 Olympics before moving to Winnipeg.

Jack Perry’s great-uncle was in the 96th Tank Unit and in the first wave to take back the Philippines. Ellie Brakatselos’ family lived in Greece during World War II and their home was taken over by the Germans during the war. Cillian O’Friel’s great-grandfather was in the Royal Air Force in World War II, was wounded and lost a leg. Dani Dragoni’s great-grandfather was in the Naval Air Corps and flew a Hellcat. Anabelle Thurston’s great-grandfather was a pilot in the Army Air Force in Italy and won the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Luca Barron learned that his great-grandfather was killed by the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Xen Rice’s great-grandfather fought with the Gurkhas in Asia in World War II. Daniel Kao’s grandfather fled China to Taiwan at the end of World War II. Olivia Shinsato’s family lived in Hawaii and saw the Japanese planes flying over Oahu on Dec. 7, Rowan Onslow’s grandmother was evacuated to the countryside during the bombing of England, and Johannes Wortel’s grandfather survived the German bombing of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and eventually moved to Canada.

Gussie Ventura’s great-grandfather was a bomber pilot in World War II, stayed in the service after the war and was stationed at Ramstein Air Base near Munich, where her grandmother was born. Luke Stephens’ grandmother was from St. Louis and remembers helping with scrap metal drives and setting up blackout curtains during World War II. Jon Angoni’s family from Albania was involved in guerilla fighting during the 1920s, and Jay Marshall’s grandmother graduated Bronxville High School at the end of World War II.