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PHOENIX, AZ (March 20, 2024)

The character and civic education program of the local non-profit, Veterans Heritage Project (VHP), has been approved by the Arizona Department of Education for the Seal of Civics Literacy designation.

The Seal of Civics Literacy recognizes high school students who achieve a high level of proficiency in Civics. The seal is placed upon the student's diploma and noted on their transcript. Arizona has the most stringent requirements for students to meet these standards, having to complete numerous activities across four categories during their high school career:

CIVICS LEARNING – three programs which focus on civics content and learning

CIVICS ENGAGEMENT – two activities where students participate in civics and demonstrate knowledge 

SERVICE LEARNING – 75 hours of service learning

WRITTEN REFLECTION – about their experiences and learning

Veterans Heritage Project is the first organization in Arizona to meet all four categories. Through VHP’s after-school program, students learn about history, citizenship, service, and leadership by interviewing veterans and documenting their service stories, the significance and impact on their lives and careers, and resulting life lessons. The activities build students’ 21st century skills: critical thinking, public speaking, listening, collaboration, and the ability to gather and process information. Civic learning experts agree that project-based and service-learning activities are necessary for students to build communication and collaboration skills, to be exposed to people with different perspectives, and to learn how to engage with the greater community (Brookings Institute, 2020).

Guided by a trained teacher who volunteers to serve as a Chapter Advisor at their school, students participate over the course of a school year. Students learn communication and interview skills, videography and photography basics, and receive an overview of the World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts prior to interviewing a veteran from a corresponding era.  Following the 1-to-3-hour interview, students write the veteran’s story, conduct related historical research to provide deeper context, and complete multiple rounds of edits based on feedback from the teacher, the veteran, and VHP’s editing committee. The video of the interview is archived at the Library of Congress, and the veteran’s service stories are published in a student-produced hardbound book, Since You Asked,TM which is also donated to the Library of Congress. Students become published authors.

VHP leads student committees to plan an end-of-school-year Community Reception and Book Signing event to honor their veterans and present the completed work. The event is free and open to the public, and includes student emcees, a veteran keynote or panel presentation, student scholarship awards, and a veteran book signing where attendees have an opportunity to interact with the veterans as they sign the pages of their story. Participating students, teachers, and veterans receive a free book, and additional copies are sold to the public at cost. This year’s event celebrates 20 years of the program, and is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. on April 28, 2024 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

Veteran speakers and civic engagement activities throughout the school year enrich the experience.  Students celebrate Veterans Day and Memorial Day with parades and other VHP or Chapter planned events, as well as engage in opportunities to connect with local veteran and service groups, plan school assemblies or classroom visits with veteran speakers, or explore historical sites through field trips and travel.

VHP Chapter students who have completed two or more years in the program are eligible for 10 exclusive scholarships, ranging from a one-time $1,500 award to a $17,500/year four-year award. The scholarships are awarded through an essay contest, where students reflect on the lessons learned by interviewing their veterans.

Students who achieve goals in the areas of leadership, interviews, civic engagement, scholarship, publishing, and character earn digital credentials via the Badger system, which can be connected to a LinkedIn profile or a college application. 

VHP is currently meeting with interested educators and taking applications for the upcoming school year. To learn how to bring VHP to your school, visit or call 602-218-4036.

Students who do not have a chapter at their school can participate as independent contributors through Veterans Heritage Project’s online platform,

About Veterans Heritage Project (VHP)

Founded in 2004 and established as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit in 2009, VHP’s mission is to Connect Students with Veterans™ in order to honor veterans, preserve America’s heritage, and develop future leaders. VHP facilitates an after-school program impacting 13,000 students, while interviewing up to 300 veterans annually. Their first-person accounts of history are preserved in the Library of Congress and through the student publication, Since You Asked.™ Program elements also include community book receptions, veteran presentations, civic engagement, and college scholarships. The award-winning program has been recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society, Arizona Humanities, Arizona Council for the Social Studies, and the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. To learn more, visit