At our meeting on July 14th Steve Cotton presented a program on the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Through the technological wonder of Zoom we were able to hear from David Harmer,an executive with the foundation,Trasa Cobern, a retired, award winning high school history teacher and Luke Blasek, a student at Norte Dame and founder of "Speak for America."
The foundation's headquarters are located on a parcel of land adjacent to the Valley Forge National Monument. Freedoms Foundation provides courses for students  and teachers on the history of the United States.Mr. Harmer pointed out that applicants for citizenship must score at least 70 on a history test. He noted that the test given to a group of native born Americans resulted in a passing grade of less than 30% although those older than 65 had a pass rate of 74%- the lesson being that our youth are painfully ignorant of our history.
Ms. Cobern expressed a need for  students to study the original writings of historically prominent Americans rather than the interpretations provided by historians. She did suggest that the musical "Hamilton" positively sparked students' interest in learning more about historical figures. As an award winning teacher she said that a teacher's excitement and enthusiasm for history was a necessary ingredient for success.
Luke Blasek started "Speak for America" as a platform for students to submit 4 minute speeches in a competition to develop public speaking techniques.