See accompanying photo in the Senate Chamber of Abby Booher (student), Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville), Medal of Honor recipient Leo Thorsness, and Brittany Davis (student) receive a framed copy of the resolution, as Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and teacher Dr. Michael McDaniel look on
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), April 9, 2013 – A group of Knoxville Central High School students and teachers joined Medal of Honor recipient Leo Thorsness and State Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) in the State Senate on Monday night in recognition of a model character program for Tennessee public schools. Senate Joint Resolution 45, written by the students, urges official adoption by the State Board of Education of the Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program as the official curriculum to be used to meet the character education requirements currently set out in state law.
“I am very proud of these students and their teacher, Dr. Michael McDaniel, for their thoughtful pursuit of this model program on character development promoted by Medal of Honor recipients,” said Senator Massey. “I also appreciate Colonel Thorsness and all of our Congressional Medal of Honor recipients involved in this program for not only serving their country with the highest distinction in combat, but for all their work to serve the next generation of Americans through this innovative and thoughtful program.”
Col. Thorsness was awarded the medal for an air engagement on April 19, 1967. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program has been endorsed by a number of school systems across the nation, but Tennessee is the first state to endorse its use statewide. The curriculum includes the six characteristics promoted by the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity, and citizenship. The curriculum can be integrated into but not limited to a number of academic subjects including government, contemporary issues, history, sociology, psychology, language arts, leadership, and math. It is provided free online and is accessible by any public school.
Students at Central High School involved in writing the resolution include Abby Booher, Brittany Davis, Jennifer DeHart, Book Tatum, and Ben Archer. Other veterans and members of the State Senate supporting the resolution include Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) and Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City).
The curriculum would become effective for the 2013-14 school year. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society will hold its 2014 convention in Knoxville this September honoring the 80 living Medal of Honor recipients.