BLYTHEWOOD, SC (WIS) - A Blythewood High School teacher will visit France this summer for an opportunity to learn more about the history of World War I.
The Memorializing the Fallen program works in conjunction with National History Day and invites 18 educators from around the country to embark on a week-long trip around France to learn more about the history of the war and those who served.
Scott Auspelmyer, a history teacher at Blythewood High School, applied for the program last fall.
“I was very surprised and extremely excited to hear I was accepted,” he said. “It’s very humbling too when they told us there were over 300 applicants and only 18 were chosen, so I’m still very much in shock about it.”
Auspelmyer has taught at the school since it opened in 2005. Since then, he’s taken on a number of advanced placement courses, teaching sophomores, juniors, and seniors about more than just history.
“Personally, he has helped me learn a lot better,” junior Logan Miller said. “I think a lot of teachers don’t care about the information as much as they do about the test scores and the AP exams, whereas he wants you to learn the information and drill it into your head.”
The June trip will also serve as a professional development program, allowing teachers to take what they learn and develop lesson plans to be implemented next school year. Each teacher researches a “silent hero,” a soldier that died during WWI and is buried or memorialized in France. Auspelmyer selected William Augustus Hudgens, a native of Anderson who died in 1918 at the end of the war. The trip will also feature the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the signing of the treaty of Versailles, a peace treaty that brought an end to the war.
“When we go over to Europe, we’re going to go to the cemeteries and each person is responsible for delivering a eulogy at their grave site,” he said.
Students said when they learned their teacher was selected from the prestigious program, they were not surprised.
“He’s definitely a history nerd,” Miller said with a laugh.
Auspelmyer said a historian will accompany the teachers on the trip and despite his extensive knowledge of 20th-century conflicts, he wants to bring back as much insight and information for his students as he can.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to go to these sites before so I’m excited about being able to see and walk in the footsteps of history so to speak,” he said. “I hope I gain a better understanding of what happened there and also bring that back to my students and allow them to see history through the lens I provide.”
Many of his students are excited to see what he brings back with him and to spend one more year with their favorite teacher.
“Having his learning style and the way he teaches his class for so long has definitely prepared me,” junior Kristian Hardy said. “I have a bigger toolbox of learning skills on how to conduct research and write papers and approach problems, and it has just made me an all-around better student.”