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NC To Normandy: World War II History Comes To Life For Chapel Hill-Carrboro Students

Written by
Tina Williamson
Published on
May 1, 2019 1:53:00 PM PDT May 1, 2019 1:53:00 PM PDTst, May 1, 2019 1:53:00 PM PDT

Taking history class can be boring as you learn date after date and event after event for which you have no personal connection. But for six lucky Chapel Hill-Carrboro students, they have become friends with two WWII veterans and history doesn’t seem so distant anymore.

The words on the pages of a history book spring to life as the students get to know Army Medic George Chall and Lt. Col. Jacques Michienzi. WWII becomes real to the students and not just a story in a textbook, not just a list of facts to memorize for the next test. As they learn more about historical events from before they were born, the students begin to better understand the past and present effects of WWII.


Learning about those who experienced war while giving back to the veterans who served our country are the two primary reasons the students are attracted to the NC to Normandy project. The project is led by Robin McMahon, a French teacher, and Tony

Carter, a Social Studies teacher, who both teach at Smith Middle School in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools System in N.C.


McMahon and Carter’s first priority is to teach their students about WWII history and the French language. This knowledge will help the students as they escort Chall and Michienzi to France and act as their French interpreters while they visit Normandy June 3-10, 2019, to attend the 75th D-Day Commemoration Services. Chall and Michienzi will return to the lands they liberated and will be honored as heroes for their service, sacrifices, and the fight they gave to secure the future for generations to come.


The students and teachers consider themselves Envoys of Honor, and their trip is where honor and service will meet history. The students plan to record and share Chall and Michienzi’s stories before they are lost in the flow of time, and they want to live history before the memories of history fade. According to Carter, “NC to Normandy connects the Greatest Generation with the next generation set to lead our country and gives our students the chance to serve and honor those who selflessly sacrificed to make the world a better place.”


You can learn more about veterans Chall and Michienzi as well as about the students and teachers working tirelessly to provide these heroes a memorable trip on the NC to Normandy website. The students know WWII veterans are all in their mid-90s or older and do not have many more opportunities to visit the lands they risked their lives to liberate from the Nazis.


When Carrot-Top Industries learned of the NC to Normandy project, we met with the teachers to find out how we could help them raise money to cover their June 2019 trip. We promised to reach out to our customers through e-mail, social media, and an online ad on the Carrot-Top Industries website. Carter appreciated our help and said, “Carrot-Top Industries has given us a platform to reach a much wider audience of people who understand the significance of our WWII veterans and the importance of honoring them.”


McMahon, who has organized and led student exchange immersion trips to and from French-speaking Europe for nearly ten years said, “Carrot-Top Industries supports their local communities and educators. Thank you to this awesome company!”

Please join Carrot-Top Industries in honoring WWII vets George Chall and Jacques Michienzi by giving them the opportunity to make this trip to Normandy. The students are working hard to raise funds for a stress-free trip for the veterans which includes the cost of flights, lodging, and food. Their goal is to raise $25,000 before the trip. They need your help to meet this financial goal. Make your donation today on their gofundme page, and Carrot-Top Industries will donate an American flag which will be placed in Normandy to honor your loved one who served in WWII.


Supporting the Chapel Hill-Carrboro students and teachers as they escort WWII vets to Normandy will help the students learn from history and motivate them to work towards a brighter future for our country and the world as a whole. These young students are our future and must learn about WWII before the ones who survived it are no longer here to share their stories and the lessons they learned. As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."