Lake Central Teacher Approaching Milestone for Student Project

Tom Clark

Lake Central High School students have recovered all but 23 photographs of U.S. service personnel from Indiana killed in Viet Nam, said Tom Clark, a U.S. history teacher. He has been honored nationally for his work in one of the nation’s longest running experiential learning initiatives called the Gold Star Honor Roll Project. More than 5000 students over three decades have been engaged in collecting memorabilia, validating records, and visiting families of U.S. personnel killed in Viet Nam and other wars. “Only 9 states have recovered all their photographs,” Clark said, who was named a Fellow in the Society. Given that Lake Central students have recovered over 1590 photographs, our state will likely lead the nation in the number of recovered photographs for a single state once all are found. The project started in 1986 when students from Clark’s classes volunteered to honor five students killed from Lake County. Clark gave special credit to student Doug DeVries who led this initiative. DeVries is now a history teacher at East Chicago Central High School. The following year, Clark’s students wanted to continue the project. This led to the discovery of 261 U.S. Soldiers and Marines killed from Lake County. All but one photograph – that of James E. Nunley – have been recovered. “This is an incredible learning experience for Lake Central students,” Clark added. Now children of former students take Clark’s classes, making this a “multi-generational” program about lessons of national sacrifice.

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