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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Autumn May of Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minnesota has been accepted into the prestigious Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute. Along with Red Lake High School teacher, Marcia Roline,

May will embark on a year-long course of study that concludes with a journey to Normandy, France to honor a WWII Silent Hero who died during or after the Normandy Invasion. Courses, materials, and international travel are paid for by the generosity of Mr. Albert H. Small.

May and Roline join 14 other student and teacher teams from around the country on this educational journey. Teams select one Silent Hero from their hometown or state who is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery. Roline and May then conduct in-depth historical research on the life of this Silent Hero. Through primary sources such as war records, draft cards, or interviews with descendants, they will learn about conducting historical research while telling the tale of this Silent Hero.

In June 2018, teams will travel to Washington, D.C. to finish their research with help from historians and college professors. While in D.C. they will tour the World War II Memorial, conduct research at the National Archives, and prepare for an expedition to the beaches of D-Day. The final leg of their journey is to Normandy, France where they will tour Omaha and Utah Beaches, walking in the footsteps of history. After visiting museums, sites of historic battles, and churches that were used as field hospitals, the journey concludes at the Normandy American Cemetery. There, May will deliver a graveside eulogy for the Silent Hero she spent months researching.

"This program helps a new generation of Americans understand the sacrifice for freedom made during Operation Overlord," said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. "Nothing relates the significance of the sacrifices made in Normandy better than a personal connection. Students become well acquainted with their Silent Heroes, often referring to them as a friend or family member. The eulogies they deliver are often tear filled, powerful, and incredibly moving. I am confident Autumn will walk away with a powerful understanding of the sacrifices so many Silent Heroes made in World War II."

The Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute is coordinated by National History Day® and is funded by a generous donation from Mr. Albert H. Small, a veteran himself.

May, under the guidance of Roline, will create a memorial profile on These pages live on as a digital memorial to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. After participating in the program, May and Roline will be charged with presenting the story of their Silent Hero to local schools, community groups, and veterans' organizations.

To date, the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute has told the stories of over 100 Silent Heroes. Each of these heroes lives on in the digital memorials created by past participants and remains a powerful memorial to the sacrifice of Americans in WWII.

About National History Day® (NHD):

NHD is a non-profit education organization headquartered in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs. More than half a million students participate in the annual National History Day Contest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD provides professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators of all levels. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit

About National History Day in Minnesota

The National History Day in Minnesota program is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts. In Minnesota, 27,000 students from over 250 schools participate in the program each year. Through classroom support services and campus access programs, National History Day in Minnesota builds pathways to higher education and future success by creating transformational learning experiences for middle and high school students.


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