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T.H. Harris Middle Students in “Presence of a True Hero”

T.H Harris Middle principal Otis Guichet set the scene perfectly for his students gathered to hear decorated World War II pilot Art Arceneaux speak.

“Picture yourself in three years. That’s how old Mr. Arceneaux was when he went off to fight the war,” Guichet told the middle school students. “When the country needed him at 18 years old, he rose to fight for the freedoms that we have today.”

Guichet invited Arceneaux to speak at Harris after the two men met at the National WWII Museum. Guichet saw the opportunity as a dynamic living history lesson for his students — one that would take primary sources to a whole new level. During his introduction of Arceneaux, Guichet told students they were in the presence of a true hero.

Along with tales from the war, the marine aviator PTO also told students how lucky they were to be in school. Born during the Great Depression, Arceneaux said it was a luxury his immigrant parents did not have.

“My parents were not educated. They had two or three grades,” said Arceneaux. “Every night my parents would sit us down to go over lessons. I thought they were helping us, but they were going to school.”

Select the video above to hear from Guichet and Arceneaux about the visit and to see the veteran’s full presentation to the Harris Middle students. Click through the photos below to learn more about the decorated veteran, who is also a winner of the military’s oldest aviation award. Visit this link to view all of our photos from Arceneaux’s visit.