Patriotism / Citizenship:

Thoughts of Teachers and Parents:

“Project American Life is a program that embodies all of the principles that the United States of America was founded upon.  As teachers, we have to be so mindful as to how trips of any kind fit the National and State standards.  This program fits so many of these standards - character education, problem-solving, real life situations, life skills, critical thinking skills, etc.  All realms of education are covered - history, writing, the arts, and science.  All students throughout our land should have an opportunity to be a participant in this program.  This program is the ultimate hands-on, minds-on program!” 

- Biddie Banks, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle

“Project American Life does not simply provide lasting memories, it provides values, which are of critical importance to American culture.  As a teacher, certainly I appreciate the factual, historical information that is presented—I build on these concepts all year.  However, more importantly, as an American citizen, I appreciate the efforts that are made to undo the ravages of modern culture.  I am deeply saddened to think of a world without programs like Project American Life or a staff to so passionately and compassionately teach it.  You achieve what no public educational facility can, and I am deeply grateful and humbled because of it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you...” 

- Jill Powell, Teacher, Morris Elementary

“The lasting value of Project American Life is of special importance!  It gives students the foundation desired by our country’s forefathers—a concept watered down or totally omitted in so many classrooms.  The four days, isolated from the world’s influences, allows them to shake off pretenses and focus on issues of sacrifice, gratitude, responsibility, and opportunity.  I will build on their lessons here each day in the hope of continuing this awesome week!” 

- Sandra Montgomery, Teacher, Academy for Science and Foreign Language

“This program addresses issues not easily addressed in the secular world of public education. I will never forget the experience of trying to lead a group to safety across the Berlin Wall.  This truly made us all empathetic to all those who actually tried and lost their lives in the process.  My group and I emotionally ran the gambit of feelings from exuberance to sheer terror.  I cried myself to sleep last night thinking of all who died trying to gain freedom.  Long Live America!!!” 

- Vicki Knotts, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle

“I believe the lasting value of Project American Life is that the students have an understanding of “a standard” in life.  In today’s PC world, it is refreshing to see kids challenged to think about values and have pride in their country.” 

- David Perkins, Parent, Tuscaloosa Middle

“The Project American Life program consists of an outstanding variety of activities, exercises, games, simulations, and songs that bring home the concepts of citizenship, freedom, respect, teamwork, etc.  “In Search of America” has made a lasting impression on me.  The students will have a new respect and understanding for the American flag and all that it represents.” 

- Barbara DeHaye, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle

“This was the best program I’ve ever witnessed for instilling patriotism and awareness of responsibility in our students.” 

- Harold Greenlee, Parent, Academy for Arts and Academics

“Project American Life is a terrific program!  It teaches principles that every child should be exposed to early in life.  I truly believe that it touches lives and will have an impact for good in our country.  The children will carry with them an appreciation for the Declaration of Independence throughout their lives because of the program.” 

- Darryl Wortman, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle

“Project American Life gets better each year!  I always wonder how you will make the concept fresher, better, and easier for kids to grasp / embrace / internalize.  From the minute you arrive, the idea of liberty is planted and every ensuing activity builds a deeper sense of responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the daily freedom our students mindlessly enjoy!” 

- Nanette Respess, Teacher, Morris Elementary

“The long lasting effects of Project American Life will be that children develop a love of country, respect for the flag, the ability to question and the desire to seek the answer, a love of God, and a belief that there is more to life than one’s self.” 

- Keith LaCoste, Parent, Tuscaloosa Middle

“I believe students will carry with them a greater understanding of the values upon which our nation is founded—and that they will build on this as they grow and mature.” 

- Virginia Carden, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle

“I will hold most special the “gut feelings,” even as an adult, when we played In Search of America, finally making it to the embassy, and seeing the children so warmly welcome others as they “gained freedom.”  These were the things that were most imprinted in my memory and my understanding of how precious our freedoms are and how wonderful it is to try to share these freedoms and responsibilities with others.” 

- Linda Warren, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle

“The importance of Project American Life is that it involves the children in an extended program of patriotic instruction—so much more effective that an hour-long program on the 4th of July!” 

- Jim Johnson, Teacher, The Altamont School

“Project American Life prepares students to be good, responsible, and moral citizens of society.  Every child in the state would benefit by coming to Project American Life.  I evaluate Project American Life over and above the highest standard of measurement.  Words can’t really describe Project American Life.  This entire experience was awesome – unbelievable program!” 

- Jonathan Snodgrass, Teacher, Academy for Science and Foreign Language

“The meaning of the U.S. flag will be forever changed for them.  As we discuss U.S. history, World history, or current events, they will have an experience in their background to relate and build on that will allow them to integrate this information into their knowledge base.” 

  1. -Myrna Miller, Teacher, Chapman Elementary

“My most memorable experience occurred when we reached the U.S. Embassy during “In Search of America.”  My son saw his girlfriend, who had arrived earlier.  She shouted and held out her arms and as they hugged one another.  They began jumping up and down shouting, ‘We’re free; we’re free!’  That really says it all.”  

- Randy Cruse, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle

“There are two things that I hope will remain with my students:  One is a spirit of gratefulness, recognizing and remembering the privileges they have as American citizens.  Secondly, the realization that they are uniquely and wonderfully made and there is a purpose for their existence.” 

- Minda Paxton, Teacher, Westlawn Middle

“I believe it is important for all Americans to realize and understand how and why our country came to be what it is.  I hope the children never forget what it means to be American, how special it is, and what responsibilities that entails.  Is this program important? Yes!  Thank you for a great week of life lessons!” 

- Anne Phillips, Teacher, The Altamont School

“I am and have been very impressed with the Project American Life program.  Children and all of us need to be reminded often that our freedom came at a price and that we should never take it for granted.  I also appreciate the fact that political correctness has not kept you from reminding the kids that our country was founded as a “nation under God.” 

- Suzanne Bailey, Parent, Mt. Gap Middle School

“The long lasting value of Project American Life is learning the heritage of the United States and its role in shaping the way the world should be.  Project American Life is a great program that can benefit all children.” 

- Rodney Lawler, Teacher, Hampton Cove Middle School

“Project American Life provides our students with an exceptional life-changing experience.  Once again, seeing our kids grow and learn about our country’s heritage—it’s probably their most special experience in all of middle school.  The ideals they learn and share with others will only enhance their future role as citizens of our country.” 

- David Mertzbacher, Teacher, Eastwood Middle School

“This program is the reason I continue to teach in a public school.  It is perhaps my only chance to give something real to my students.  My co-workers and I almost kill ourselves trying to get us all here.  We would not do this unless we knew what an impact Project American Life has.  Thank you for providing the means to reclaim the culture... thank you for renewing my spirit...” 

- Jill Powell, Teacher, Morris Elementary

“Project American Life is a truly worthwhile program that benefits all who attend.  The positive approach to the American ideals doesn’t surface enough in society today so we need this program!!!” 

- Vicki Knotts, Teacher, Mt. Gap Middle School

“The program has opened the eyes of the students to what the American flag stands for, why our country is so special, and what our country was established upon.  Students now know why we need to be grateful for all of our freedoms.” 

- Cheryl Shelton, Teacher, The Academy for Science and Foreign Language

“The children have developed a sense of patriotism and a view of their uniqueness in this world, thus making them feel too special to do anything harmful to themselves or others.  I thank you for renewing my love of country and God.  My wish for Project American Life is that it spreads across this state and this country.” 

- Anne Phillips, Teacher, The Altamont School

“It is of maximum importance that our young people today understand the values on which this country was founded; these are the basis for our country’s success!  Students also have had an opportunity to focus on the reality of the lives given during our early history up to today in order to preserve these freedoms.  Hopefully we will no longer take them for granted.  Thank you all for your willing hearts, great energy, and especially the love you show all of us here at Project American Life.” 

- Penny Shell, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle School

“Project American Life does much to teach the students about our past and how blessed we are to live here, but that is by far not all.  It allows the students to see that they have opportunities that others only dream of and to waste these would mean the people who gave their lives so we could have these opportunities died in vain.  It is a life changing experience.” 

- Natalie Lane, Teacher, Mountain Gap Middle School

“This was an amazing learning experience for the students and myself.  These children were stretched physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Not only did P.A.L. instill a sense of pride for our country in my students, but it also revived in me an appreciation for our country and all those who died so that I may have freedom.  I pray that these students come away with a spirit of gratefulness for all that they have.  I believe this program has accomplished this.  I also pray that these students will go through life using the minds God has given them.  They have used their minds this week in ways they never have before.” 

- Meredith Wenzel, Teacher, Westminster Christian Academy

“The lasting value is to understand that freedom did not come freely, and we all have a responsibility to others not as fortunate.  This was such an awesome experience!  I wish all of the students could have come, and I’m so glad my son was able to experience this.” 

- Tina Totora, Parent / Teacher, Mountain Gap Middle School

“This is an amazing program!  This was my first year, and I couldn’t wait to get here.  The whole experience was even better than I had imagined.  I walk away feeling prouder than ever to be an American.  Thank you for reminding me and the children about what that means.” 

- Kelly Bell, Teacher, Whitesburg Middle School

Thoughts of Students:

“Everything was the best.  The three most important things I learned were to judge carefully and not just from mere words, that America is the only nation that was born on a principle, and that character, love, and wisdom are very important and nothing in the world can buy them.  Project American Life helps people realize what we really are, and that we can change in a good way.” 

- Patty, 6th Grade

“I learned how special and great being an American is.  I never was thankful for that before.  I also learned how great it is to be human and to be living.”  - Kelly, 6th Grade

“The most important thing I learned about myself this week is to be thankful for what we have, that we live in a great country and should not take it for granted.  Project American Life is all about learning things to help you in life.”  - Grant, 6th Grade

“My best experience was “In Search of America.”  I liked it because it was fun and taught us about what thousands of people went through.  It also helped me to appreciate the things that we have today.  I learned that I should be thankful for what I have.”  - Karlene, 6th Grade

“My most memorable experience at Project American Life is the Citizenship Game.  I liked how it showed what it was like to have someone completely control me and take all the money I made.  Project American Life is learning about our rights, how fortunate we are, what we should think about being free, and the pains people took to give freedom to us.”  - Coleman, 6th Grade

“My best experience at Project American Life was escaping from East Berlin because that’s what actual people went through, and knowing what happened is the only way you can stop it from happening in the future.”  - Paige, 6th Grade

“In Search of America makes you proud to be an American.  I learned that I can do anything, and that I shouldn’t give up, and that love conquers fear.  My group leader was always getting us to think.”  - Taylor, 6th Grade

“We are so blessed to live here in the U.S.A.  Project American Life is keeping the morals of America alive even after 200 years.”  - Stephen, 6th Grade

“In Search of America helped me to understand how hard some people’s lives are and realize that we are so lucky to be living in the U.S.A.!  Project American Life teaches kids to be appreciative, respectful, and compassionate.”  - Kelsey, 6th Grade

“Project American Life is about learning all that the soldiers and other people had to go through in order to give us freedom.”  - Lauren, 6th Grade

“The most important thing I learned this week was how good it is to have freedom.  It’s important so we don’t take everything for granted.”   - Mitch, 5th Grade

“I have learned how fortunate we are to live here in America.  It is important because I never realized how good we have it.”  - Dasha, 6th Grade

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