American History / Civics:

Thoughts of Teachers and Parents:


"I believe the longest lasting effect on students is that they will attain a higher level of maturity and responsibility, both personal and civic.  I think they will have an increased understanding of their role in society and their ability to shape their future, the nation's future, and the future of their world.  I think they will have a sense of appreciation for their community and a sense of compassion for the less fortunate.  They are changed a wonderful way!" 

- Randy Cruse, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle


"This is an outstanding program in all regards -- well organized and well thought out.  I especially like 'The Citizenship Game' and 'In Search for America' as these simulations bring the study of government and history to life for the kids.  One of my students said to me, 'I wish we could do all our school like this, because then we'd remember!'"

- Barbara DeHaye, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle


"Absolutely the best program in the state!  Project American Life should become a part of a national social studies curriculum.  Any educator, parent, or politician who does not recognize the importance of the concepts being conveyed is simply unaware!" 

- Jill Powell, Teacher, Morris Elementary


"I loved seeing history come alive right before the children's eyes.  It was so real to them.  Students will look at the world differently as they figure out how they will contribute to society in a positive way." 

- Annie Jewell Cheatham, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle


"This experience reminded me that this country is and should be a leader in the Free World.  In addition, it is refreshing to know that there is a program like Project American Life that educates our young people in such a way as to stay on the straight and narrow.  The long lasting effects are that an enhanced foundation of what we are, where we are, and why we are here will be instilled in each and everyone's mind." 

- David Hardin, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle


"The purpose of Project American Life is to educate children in the founding principles of the United States and the importance of the Declaration of Independence.  The Citizenship Game was the best economics lesson I've ever seen!" 

- Jim Gatherer, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle


"Definitely the most beneficial activity my students will experience this year.  I will hold the night "escape and evasion" program based on the Berlin Wall my most special experience.  Even if they only take to heart a portion of what was experienced in Project American Life, it will have a major impact on their lives." 

- Major Gary R. Leopold, Teacher, Academy for Arts and Academics


"The long lasting effects are that our students will have the advantage of being more responsible citizens.  The will have a deeper appreciation of our country and what it stands for.  They will be more sensitive to each other and respect the rights and feelings of other people." 

- David Merzbacher, Teacher, Tuscaloosa Middle


"I think it is a wonderful program.  I like the idea of separating them by the caste system and then bringing them back together into work teams.  I think this will give them a greater appreciation for what they have and the country in which they live." 

- John Timlin, Principal, Mt. Gap Middle


"Project American Life is a wonderful civics lesson.  Students are part of the program.  They are not just talked to, but actively involved.  Great!" 

- David Perkins, Parent, Tuscaloosa Middle


"The longest lasting effect on students is that they develop a sense of who they are in relation to the world.  They sense that they are loved, they realize their unique gifts and talents, and they see that they should celebrate our gift of freedom.  The seeds of thought, concepts, and ideas that are planted during the Project American Life games are harvested in our classrooms.  As we study the Revolutionary War, we see the "ah-ha" of why the Patriots fought so hard." 

- Nanette Respess, Teacher, Morris Elementary


"I enjoyed most the opportunity to provide living experiences, learning experiences, not possible in a classroom setting." 

- Virginia Carden, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle


"Late Wednesday night, after In Search of America, the boys in my cabin were talking about the fear and joy they felt during the game.  They then began talking about all of the war movies they had seen and what the characters must have felt and believed in.  They really got the point.  The long-lasting effect will be when they hear things in the news, they'll be able to understand what the news means." 

- Jim Gatherer, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle


"Project American Life has high expectations in the area of respect -- respect for themselves, their peers and authority.  The children now understand the importance of the Declaration of Independence and how it relates to each individual." 

- Karen Nelson, Asst. Principal, Whitesburg Middle


"Again, the experience of bringing a new group of students to Project American Life has been extremely rewarding.  The students are probed to think deeply about their inner worth as well as the value of others.  As a social studies teacher, I especially appreciate the emphasis on valuing the republic in which we are blessed to live." 

- Penny Shell, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle


"The Project American Life program fits well with the State Course of Study.  Project American Life centers around America's foundation and how each person is part of the process of making an impact in a positive way." 

- Annie Cheatham, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle School


"The progression of the activities and content was very effective.  Each day built on the day before.  The kids have a much stronger, positive belief that they are truly blessed to be a part of this country and that they have the responsibility to keep making it a welcoming, safe haven for everyone -- not only the U.S., but their state, city, neighborhood, and classroom." 

- Lesa Roberts, Teacher, Hampton Cove Middle School


"I believe Project American Life has given all of us who attended a renewed appreciation for the great country we live in and the ideals on which it was founded." 

- Robin Foss, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle School


"Project American Life teaches such important concepts which all of our children need to learn.  If our kids remember just a small part of the program, I truly have great confidence in the future of our country." 

- David Mertzbacher, Teacher, Eastwood Middle School


"I love In Search of America!  As a Hispanic, I understand how very precious this gift of freedom truly is.  Relatives who lived and escaped the cruel tyranny of Cuba's government always brought to light how much we take for granted as Americans." 

- Ana Mari Cadilla, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle School


“As a history teacher, I thought this program was great!  I was wondering if I could steal you guys and have you teach my history classes.  Actually, P.A.L. is going to make my job easier in teaching history this year.” 

- Christopher Stokes, Teacher, Westminster Christian Academy


“This interactive program rates a 10+.  Our 6th graders experience the creation of our Declaration of Independence.  They learn to think about what is right and moral; they learn love of human life and respect for others; they leave with respect and appreciation for our American Freedoms!” 

- Penny Shell, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle School


“Project American Life has given our kids a look at our nation, not as a bunch of facts and dates in a history book, but at the ideals and values that our nation was founded on.  People don’t like to think, but this camp has made our kids think and given them the tools to think with.” 

- Shannon Fields, Parent, Whitesburg Middle School


Thoughts of Students:

"Project American Life means a lot to me.  It made me appreciate how free and wonderful our country is.  It also reminded me how love, character, and wisdom were much more important than material things.  I learned how precious every moment of our life is and how fortunate we are and how thankful we should be.  Project American Life meant much knowledge and precious lessons, as well as great fun." 

- Kelly, 6th Grade


"The best thing in Project American Life was "In Search of America."  It was fun because it was so real, and when we got to the campfire the feeling that I got was unreal." 

- Kelsi, 5th Grade


"This week I learned that America is great, humans are great, and the Declaration of Independence is important.  Project American Life teaches you about yourself and the world around you. I learned that I am special." 

- Katie, 6th Grade


"Project American Life is all about thinking more.  It teaches us to be more creative.  It is also about history and why it is important." 

- Michaela, 6th Grade


"Project American Life is about pursuing something greater than ourselves." 

- Luke, 6th Grade


"Project American Life is all about showing us the best way to live our lives so that we'll know what to do in the future to make a difference." 

- Olivia, 6th Grade


"Project American Life is about learning about your country and what is special about it.  My best experience was singing and understanding the songs." 

- Leslie, 6th Grade


"The most important thing I learned was how lucky I am to be free.  It is important because we have rights and can live without being told how to do so." 

- Coleman, 6th Grade


"Project American Life is about how real life works, and we learned how to adjust and achieve true greatness." 

- Jeremy


"Project American Life is learning that being a good leader means to also be a good servant." 

- Kathryn


"During In Search of America my adrenaline was rushing, and it was as though I was truly escaping.  I think Project American Life is a stepping stone to the real world." 

- Christopher, 6th Grade


"Project American Life is about informing us about our history and allowing us to experience it.  I understand the time that East Germans had trying to get to the West.  I would have never understood if I had read it from a history book." 

- Sarah, 6th Grade


"The most important thing I learned was how to be thankful.  Project American Life is about learning how to respect what our country has given to us, and all the people who gave their lives to make our country that way." 

- Alexandria, 6th Grade


"I learned so much about the Declaration of Independence.  It is important because we need to know what our country is founded on." 

- Sarah, 6th Grade


"My best experience at Project American Life was In Search of America.  I learned about the hardships people in search of freedom face.  It made me more grateful." 

- Rain, 6th Grade


"The most important thing I learned was the Declaration of Independence so I could know why people put their lives on the line for freedom." 

- Warren, 6th Grade


"I learned where our rights come from.  This is important because we should know about our culture and the people who really knew these things." 

- Christina, 6th Grade


"I think Project American Life is about learning about liberty, responsibility, and history.  It is about being grateful." 

- Zack, 6th Grade


"The most important thing I learned was that all men are Created equal.  Project American Life is helping kids find themselves and helping them know what America is all about." 

- Phillip, 6th Grade


"I love Project American Life!  It teaches you about yourself, the Declaration of Independence, and others.  I am so fortunate to have the things I have.  I am a fine china plate, not a paper plate." 

- Marissa, 6th Grade


“Escaping from East Berlin was my best experience because it taught us what every day life is like for people for people who live in Communism.” 

- Jean, 6th Grade


“Project American Life is about learning about our history and learning that we have so much and we need to be grateful for it and much, much more.” 

- Kyle, 6th Grade


“Project American Life is about learning our history and how different standards make different lives.” 

- Huston, 6th Grade


“I learned more about America’s greatest documents.  It is important to know what they stand for and what they mean.” 

- Ashley, 6th Grade


“I think that P.A.L. is about re-creating the past so that we can understand it.”  

- Maddie, 6th Grade


“Project American Life is all about learning about history without even realizing you’re doing it because you’re having fun at the same time.” 

- Stephanie, 6th Grade


“Project American Life is about the past lives who gave up their lives to give us liberty.” 

- Rodney, 5th Grade

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