EVART — Evart High School students and teachers make a stop in a history classroom on Sept. 11 to see a display of newspapers collected by a teacher who was looking for his way to serve America after the terrorist attacks.
While his friends signed up for the military, Evart High School U.S. history teacher Josh Johnson, after losing his factory job, knew he had to serve in some other way.
“The military just was not for me. I watched many of my friends join and I thought I had to do something to make sure this day was not forgotten,” he said. “I had always loved history and teaching just seemed like the ideal fit. My service calling was education.”
After the towers fell and the dust settled, Johnson made the decision to go back to school and grabbed all the local Michigan and national newspapers he could find.
“I don’t know why I did it exactly,” said Johnson, “I just felt compelled to grab every paper I could get my hands on covering the days after 9/11.”
In his 12 years of teaching, Johnson has shown these papers off to anyone who wants to stop by his room on Sept. 11.
“It doesn’t matter where I have been, I have displayed the papers in my classroom every year,” he said.
This year, Evart High School invited the VFW to come and not only be a part of their morning memorial service but to also see the headlines that covered the walls of Johnson’s classroom.
“When you can impress these guys it is a great feeling,” Johnson said after seeing veterans reactions to all that papers he had collected.
Posting the front pages around his Evart classroom not only gives Johnson the chance to impact veterans, but also gives him the opportunity to teach students about 9/11 in a way he feels immerses them into the world that soon followed the event.
“I think students get the gist of 9/11,” he said. “But until (they) read the headlines, they don’t realize how that day changed America. I think reading the headlines and some of the stories that I put up really helps them get it in a way that just telling them about it doesn’t.”