Lufkin 8th graders learn history with school's own WWII boxcar

Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin Middle School teacher has been helping her students learn about World War II, by having them collect paper clips to represent all those affected.

But, the teacher, Savannah Tutt, added an even more realistic aspect to her teaching, by getting a boxcar that transported soldiers to France, during the war, and having it shipped to the school's campus.

"It's amazing," said student, Madeline McCollum. "It's amazing to think that I'm in the same vicinity of people that possibly fought for us."

The students were informed that the 1920s era boxcar was only one of 20 of it's kind left, after Tutt arranged the donation from the former owners at the Texas State Railroad.

Tutt said that she thought a physical piece of history would really resonate with her students.

"Even though we talk about it and discuss it and we read all these different pieces of literature and they watch these documentaries," Tutt said. "It still really hard to actually grasp how many people were affected by the Holocaust and even World War II."

The boxcar isn't just for show. It will house the students paper clips.

"I knew that there was a lot of people that died during the Holocaust era," said student, Avery Sullivan. "But, when I saw that these things, boxcars, carried people to the concentration camps and carried the soldiers to the battle line. It really brings that realization that this is a part of history."

Besides exploring, students cleaned and measured the boxcar to make ready to restore it, which some see as a form of remembrance.

"I think it's important to me to honor our American soldiers who died fighting for our country and help spread that all people are equal," said Peyton Mathis.

The students and their teacher plan to completely restore the boxcar, working on their own time for the next few weekends.

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