Rounds of the greeting bounced between survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack on the USS Oklahoma in Hawaii and students in the Sooner State during a live video-conference Thursday afternoon.
About 8,000 students at more than 90 schools took part, and at 10 schools — including a class of sixth-graders at the Knowledge Is Power Program Reach College Preparatory School in Oklahoma City — students asked survivors questions in real time over the video link.
"It was very interesting because I actually got to learn things from a person that actually experienced this, that experienced a really famous event,” said Joey Gregory, 11, who asked a question during the live Web cast.
Preparation and privilege
The 28 KIPP students almost lost their chance to talk to the survivors because of technical problems.
Despite a dry-run the day before, the class spent the first half-hour of the live statewide video conference waiting for the connection to work.
Principal Tracy McDaniel stepped in to keep them focused, asking them questions about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S.'s subsequent involvement in the war.
Most students' hands shot up at every question.
Their social studies teacher, Rexi Graham, said she started preparing them last week.
"The usual sixth-grade curriculum is ancient civilizations, but we couldn't pass up this opportunity,” she said.
"An activity such as this is really rare, and we did a lot of explanation on how important this is and how privileged we are to be able to participate.