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FOR SHOWTIMES, PRESS “TROBAUGH”

I.+Shank
I. Shank

I. Shank

I. Shank

I. Shank

I. Shank

Ian Shank, Entertainment Writer

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Films in classrooms are normally limited to two scenarios: the first being a film adaptation of a novel read in a Language Arts class, and the second being a biopic of some historical person or a dramatization of a real life event. But what if there was a class that was primarily focused around film—not just the moviemaking but also how it represents history? This is the concept of Heritage High School’s newest class “U.S. History Through Film.” Taught by AP World History and AP Microeconomics teacher Kevin Trobaugh, every week a new film is shown to the class of 18 students that reflects on a certain time period in U.S. History. Topics range from colonization to the Great Depression to the War on Terror. The semester was kicked off by watching Michael Mann’s 1992 epic “The Last of The Mohicans.” The semester includes other films such as “Cinderella Man,” “Hidden Figures,” “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee,” and select episodes of the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” The semester will conclude with the Academy Award-winner “Argo,” starring Ben Affleck, and Robert Redford’s War on Terror film “Lions for Lambs.” Don’t assume that students just sit in the Film Room and look at a screen. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the students research the film and its historical accuracies which leads into an in-depth discussion of the film (or miniseries) on Fridays. The best discussion the class has had yet, according to John Hooper, was for the controversial 1915 epic “The Birth of A Nation.” Students had much to offer when it came to discussing the film’s explicitly racist themes. Since many of the films feature depressing and heavy reflections on the past, students find any way possible to have as much fun in the class. The favorite thing to do is before the discussion, students will pick a song and blast it from their chromebooks at full volume to welcome Mr. Trobaugh to the classroom. Past songs used include the main theme from “The Last of The Mohicans,” Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September,” and John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The class was even able to get the “Last of The Mohicans” main theme as one of the songs played during class change. So, if you hear an orchestral beauty during class change, know that it was brought to you by the U.S. History Through Film class.

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