Vietnam and Today


Graham Weber’s (10) Vietnam Project for Mr. Clark’s class. Graham is a student in Mr. Clark’s AP US History and has put a lot of effort into the project. Weber was successful in contacting the family and being able to add information to Mr. Clark’s archive.

Madison Re

Mr. Thomas Clark, one of Lake Central’s US History teachers, is making a huge difference with both veterans and students alike. Clark graduated from high school and enlisted in the military. He served in Germany from 1976 to 1979 as a military policeman. When he came back to the United States, he used his GI benefits to go to college and got a degree in teaching. Clark has been teaching at Lake Central High school since then.

“The project is basically to try and honor those individuals from Indiana that died in the Vietnam War. We started with the five from the high schools. Then we expanded out to the whole county and there were 261 from our county. We started doing the entire state, all 92 counties. As time went on, the state of Indiana saw that we had more information than they did, so they asked us to be the researchers for the Vietnam War Memorial for the state of Indiana,” Clark said.

When Clark originally started teaching at Lake Central, he wanted to find a way to connect the students to history in a way more than reading from a book.

“One thing I noticed was that students had a hard time connecting to historical times, so I had students write letters to survivors of the Lebanon terrorist attack, and we started to get letters back. The students thought that was really awesome,” Clark said.

The project initially started with writing letters and evolved into researching alumni that fought in Vietnam through a student named Doug Devris.  Devris saw the letters displayed in the library and loved the idea, he asked Clark if the school could do something for the boys that died in Vietnam similarly, then began the research.

[Devris] said, ‘Clark, I found the names of two boys from the school that died in Vietnam’. He said, ‘Why is it the school that done anything about him?’” Clark said.

Over the years of his project, it has continued to evolve and go through different phases.

As time went on, families started to give us their [family member’s] uniforms and metals and their letters. The letters are absolutely incredible. So we have become like an archive of gathering all this information and physical items of these individuals, they gave their lives, and that’s what the project is all about,” Clark said.

The project has touched so many people in the past 33 years. This project developed into a whole museum. Having a Veteran’s Museum in our area was a goal of Clark’s, and he has since accomplished it. The project not only connects students to both the past and present, but it also connects them to the outside world. They are researching real people that died, reaching out and contacting families, seeing pictures and finding out information about life situations.  The project shows families that their sacrifices and those of their family members are not overlooked, not forgotten.