Forging connections across time through Landon archives
Students read a decades old version of the Landon News

Grade 9 history and English students combed through half a century’s worth of Landon student newspapers as part of a unique primary source learning experience.  

In English, boys worked together to create a digital newspaper. Before they began writing, students read archived copies of the Landon News for ideas and inspiration from boys who once stood in their shoes.   

Students explore the Landon Archives in the Landow Gallery

“I hope they gained perspective on the differences and similarities between their lives and the lives of past Landon students,” said Upper School English Teacher Dan Moorin. “I hope they gained an appreciation for what an archive is, and I hope they are curious to learn more from archives, at Landon and beyond.” 

Once they were inspired by the energy, wit, and satirical writing of older Landon News editions from the 1940s to the 1990s, students then wrote their own articles – everything from comics and opinion columns to current event reports.  

During their search, students found articles written by Upper School French Teacher WT Miller ’86 and others featuring longtime teacher Steve Sorkin.  

An article in a Landon News edition featuring Steve Sorkin

“Watching them dig through the archive, we witnessed many natural sparks of interest. Many of the students have relatives or parents in the Landon News. It was a personal experience for the kids,” said Moorin. 

That was the case for Nathan ’27 who found an old yearbook with photos of his father and uncle. 

“It was really cool to see them in a different time in their lives and connect with them and the school,” Nathan said. “I thought it was very fun and informative but also interesting.” 

Students explore the Landon Archives in the Landow Gallery

Moorin collaborated with Upper School History Teacher Dimmy Herard; in his Contemporary Global Issues (CGI) class, students looked for Landon News articles related to the Cold War, then researched the respective leaders of the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the year the article was written, and the major Cold War events that occurred during that year. 

“In CGI, we related that to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and we wrote our own articles talking about the current conflict,” said Nathan. 

Herard said he wanted students to understand the broader context within which the Landon News articles were written.  

“I was stoked that they would get a taste for how historians actually do history: digging through old documents, photographs, records, and other random items to piece together a narrative about a particular time and place,” Herard said. 

Moorin explained his goal was for students to develop an authentic writing style and voice with some help from the unfiltered voices of students from decades before them. He said he’s looking to create more consistent opportunities for boys to think and write authentically. 

“We want them to care about their writing, to take pride in their writing, to see themselves as writers and journalists,” Moorin added. “I'd like to think they poured this spark of curiosity into their individual writings, but I know we've only scratched the surface.” 

Cover of the digital newspaper created by Grade 9 students 

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