Chesterfield teacher to unlock mysteries behind old family photos

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- They say a picture can paint a thousand words, but pictures are also leading a Chesterfield teacher to spend thousands of dollars. Christine Henry was recognized with a 2028 REB Award for teaching excellence.  The award includes a grant of nearly $12,000.

In her history class, analyzing old photos gives students a glimpse into what life might have been like for the people in them.  But a picture doesn't always tell the whole story.

"You can see a picture and get an idea," Ms. Henry said, “but what is the thought process? What are the emotions behind it? One of my fondest memories is going to my grandparent's house and we'd go thru all the pictures and have them tell me who is this, who was this person?"

Ms. Henry's grandmother

Ms. Henry is going to have some of those questions answered.

“I’m using the grant to research and follow my grandmother's life from birth to immigration," she said. "This summer I'm going to meet with her cousin who had to flee Romania."

In retracing her grandmother's experiences in Romania and as a nurse in Dresden, she can pass on lessons to her students on what it was like to be a refugee and American immigrant during and after World War II.

Her hope is that it may inspire her students to look at history from different angles, and not just what they read in a textbook or see in a photograph.

"I think it's important to have kids be able to look at things through different lenses, different perspectives."

Building Better Minds with Rob Cardwell airs Wednesdays on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m.

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