MONTCLAIR, N.J. – On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Richard Bellini shared his remarkable past at a youth enrichment workshop in order to help the students understand the importance of oral history. Bellini, a Private First Class of the 2-113th Infantry Division, of The New Jersey Army National Guard, began his first semester at Montclair State University this January. He is majoring in Exercise Science. With the help of Montclair State University’s Coordinator of Veteran and Military Resources, Denise Rodak, the Gifted & Talented Program reached out to Bellini to ask for his participation in this exciting new event. Bellini eagerly accepted saying, “It is good to know people want to learn more.”
The oral history workshop was free and offered to students in grades 1 – 11 in the general public by Montclair State University’s Gifted & Talented program. More than 70 parents and students attended the workshop, excited about the opportunity to learn from veterans with such diverse experiences. The workshop first introduced students to oral histories and the methods of collecting and interpreting human memories to preserve as a historical record for future generations. Presenter Rebeccah Newman, interim associate director of the Academically Gifted & Talented Program discussed research techniques for writing and recording oral histories. Students were then able to put those methods into practice as groups were paired with veterans to attain first-hand knowledge of the students’ and veterans’ bonded history. “Oral history training and learning about and from vets are life skills that will serve us all well, deepening our understanding of others,” explained one parent when asked why she chose to sign her child up for the program. With such positive feedback from the workshop, Montclair State University’s Gifted & Talented Program will be launching a series of free workshops, open to the public, this upcoming fall.
About Montclair State University’s Academically Gifted & Talented Program
The Academically Gifted & Talented program provides engaging courses designed to meet the unique intellectual and social needs of high-ability students. The program provides students with a balance of the humanities, performing arts, mathematics, and the sciences. Courses stimulate higher order thinking skills and include a diverse array of topics such as forensics, robotics, fractals and infinity, debate, animation, graphic design and more. Students delve into topics of personal interest while engaging with other students who have similar abilities and passions. Gifted students in grades K-11 have an opportunity to enroll in courses delivered over nine weekends in the fall and spring, as well as a six-week summer camp.