GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The red carpet is being rolled out in Grand RapidsWednesday for a movie event honoring World War II veterans, thanks to some local students who have become filmmakers.
About two months ago, some Kent Innovation High School students werefaced with a choice -- either learn about World War II through textbooks and lectures, or do something "out of the box." They decidedtoput on their creative caps and made something that will last forever.
On Wednesday night, those students will premiere about 20 five-minute documentaries on local World War II veterans.
They started the project when the topic came up in their global studies classes.
One hundredstudents teamed up in groups of three to four and interviewed 25 veterans. Those vets shared experiences that put real faces on the war and made history come alivefor those students. In the process theybridged a generation gap.
"This was a direct quote, 'I was worried about this generation coming up, but if they are all like these kids, we are going to be alright'," says teacher and project coordinator Trevor Muir.
The project includes interviews and artifacts brought in by the veterans to help visualize their experiences. Teacher Danee Lucas says those first-hand experiences were invaluable.
"The students walked away and said things like, 'I can't believe they survived that' and 'Did you hear him talk about when they were in Normandy'," says Lucas. "'He went to a POW camp...can you imagine living that?''I can't believe I talked to somebody whosurvived that.' And so they really connected."
The educatorsbelieve working on the projectwill not only create a lasting impression on the students butalso help preserve a piece of history.
The premiere starts at 6 p.m. Wednesdayat The Wealthy Street Theater. The veterans and their families will have the red carpet rolled out for them as special guests of honor.
The public is also invited to come out and share in the event. It is free to attend.