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November 20, 2023 64 mins

In the sixth episode of “The 2023 UCF VLP Institute Podcast Series,” we’ve reached the climax. At this point in the series, you have heard seven teachers, ranging from 2nd grade to 11th grade, profoundly reflect on their experience at the Institute—from their Veteran bios, to their mini-tours, to their lesson plans, to even how rewarding it has been to collaborate with other educators in the pursuit to memorialize Veterans and improve their craft. All the momentum we’ve built up in the past five episodes has led us to this pivotal moment—the “meta” field trip on Day 8 out of 10 of the Institute.

This experience differed from when the teachers initially explored St. Augustine National Cemetery because they have been engaging with their mini-tours, lesson plans, and, more importantly, their Veterans. So, when they participated in these field trip activities, for example, rubbing the headstones, they connected with their Veteran and their work in a completely surreal and transformative way that would not have been possible if they hadn’t been vehemently putting in that work from before. Therefore, this “meta” field trip took all the separate components the teachers have been working on for over a week and converged them into this holistic, all-encompassing experience.

Just as impactful of this “meta” field trip is the pedagogical element to it—it’s why the label “meta” is put in front of “field trip.” The teachers occupied a dual role in this enterprise—rather than being just passive receivers of the action, they were also challenged by the UCF VLP team to actively engage with the pedagogy behind constructing such an experience for students. Lastly, to add another layer of uniqueness to this episode, Sebastian recorded the field trip LIVE, allowing you as the listeners to get an authentic capture of what was going on—from the content that was being given to the genuine comradery that was displayed by the teachers, to even the beautiful soundscapes you hear when you’re at a national cemetery. Sebastian also narrates throughout the episode to provide better context to a dynamic and metamorphic event at the zenith of the Institute.

This episode was directed, produced, written, edited, and hosted by Sebastian Garcia, and featured UCF VLP Team Members Dr. Amelia Lyons, Dr. Amy Giroux, Dr. Barbara Gannon, Sarah Boye, Jim Stoddard, and Harrison Smith. This episode also featured the 2023 UCF VLP Institute K12 Teachers Cohort.

Executive producers: Sebastian Garcia and Dr. Amelia Lyons.

Music: “Honor and Glory” and “Real Heroes” by SergePavkinMusic (Pixabay) and “Glossy” by Coma-Media (Pixabay)

Podcast Cover Artwork: Sebastian Garcia

The 2023 UCF VLP Institute Podcast Series is brought to you by UCF’s Department of History and UCF’s Veterans Legacy Program—a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration.

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