Fordham Notes: GSE Alumnus Helps Students Pen First Draft of History

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GSE Alumnus Helps Students Pen First Draft of History

A good teacher makes a subject come alive. And that’s exactly what Michael Malnic, GSE ’99, did for his seventh-grade social studies class at Meadow Hill magnet school in Newburgh, N.Y.

To complement his classroom lessons, Malnic enlisted his students as journalists to file news reports about black soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

For their beat, the cub reporters covered the historic 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the first official regiments of blacks troops in the U.S. military.

The students used as their historical guide the 1989 film Glory, which dramatized the real-life story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and starred Fordham graduate Denzel Washington, FCLC ’77. The regiment was raised and commanded by Col. Robert Gould Shaw, who attended the lower division of St. John’s College, now known as Fordham Preparatory School, before he joined the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry as a second lieutenant.

Malnic’s students each selected archival photos and wrote feature-length stories, which they ran in individual front pages of their own newspapers.

Their work was recently featured in the Times-Herald Record.

“What really meant a lot to me was for them to see the human element [of history],” Malnic told the paper.
—Miles Doyle, FCRH ’01

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