Matti and Mr. Hustvedt thank you for visiting this website about our journey to Washington, D.C. and Normandy France to memorialize a fallen Minnesota soldier, learn about D-Day, and firsthand see the places where history was made. Here are the introductions we shared with the 14 other teachers and students from across the country who will be on this adventure with us."
Hey there everybody, from the beautiful state of Minnesota! My name is Ron Hustvedt, Jr. I put off writing this because I knew I’d blab on too much and clearly I did. For that I’m sorry but it’s a pleasure to meet all of you and I know we are going to have a lot of fun together on this journey of a lifetime!
I teach 6th, 7th and 8th grade Social Studies at Salk Middle School in Elk River located just northwest of the Twin Cities. Elk River is essentially a small town that’s become a suburb over the past 20 years. I enjoy it but its still a weird place for this city boy born and raised in south Minneapolis (which is also where I taught for the first eight years of my career). My wife and I moved out here from the city and I was hired by the district the next year to create a High School transition program for at-risk 9th and 10th grade students. I did that for two years and was really enjoying it before some unrelated district cuts had another teacher bump me out of transition and back into social studies, my true love to teach. I haven’t looked back since.
Salk is a STEM Magnet program but I set out to make social studies as hands-on and engaging as it possible. I ran our NHD program when I taught in Minneapolis and brought it out to Elk River. We went from 150 students our first year to 500 students this year. In the process, I received the 2010 Minnesota History Day Teacher of Merit award and was able to attend the national event for the first time. (Back in 2005 I had two students take first place for their performance but I was unable to attend.) I returned last year with two students who took fifth in the nation for their exhibit board.
Since 2003 I’ve brought over 200 students to Washington, D.C. on a semi-annual field trip and I love bringing all of my students to places like the University of Minnesota library to conduct research. Getting students out of the textbook, out of their seats, out of the classroom and out of the school invigorates me. Creating the organized chaos that ensues, and getting everybody back in one piece having learned so much, is ever so much fun. This institute will be a treat.
I recently served on the Minnesota Social Studies Standards Review Committee where I was honored to help update our state social studies standards to make them more teachable, more streamlined, and more focused on teaching historical skills rather than just a laundry list of dates and names. I am a board member for the Minnesota Council for History Education, a Trainer with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program and frequent presenter to History Day teachers at the Minnesota Historical Society. There’s more, but really, who wants to read it! I am passionate about teaching all the areas of social studies and am deeply humbled to be part of this group. Most of all, I am passionate about getting my students fired up about this most crucial of subjects. Having students say or write “I didn’t like history until this year” is still the most sincere and highest award we can receive.
Other than all that, I’ve been an adjunct professor in a Master of Education program, I am outdoors writer for several state and national publications, I produce videos and take photography for a few businesses and I do all that on the margins of time because I might just be insane. My business is called WriteOutdoors.com and is too much fun to walk away from. I have a three-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son who always take priority over everything else I mentioned. My beautiful wife teaches middle school math and is still the best teacher I’ve ever worked with. She is my best resource for improving my craft. This trip will be the longest I’ve been away from them by a long shot and it’s the only thing I’m not looking forward to with giddy excitement.
My name is Mattilan Martin, but I mostly go by Matti ( pronounced just like maddy). I am a Junior at the Center for Engineering Math and Science hosted by Blaine High school (we call its CEMS for short),which is in the middle of cold snowy Minnesota. I play sand-volleyball, basketball and softball, as well as being a part of my schools drama department, HOSA team and National Honor Society. (No, I don’t get much sleep in case you were wondering . ) I am a loud and outgoing person and I apparently have a thick Minnesotan accent according to my friends from other states.
I have a strong love for history that has been fostered and grown by my awesome middle school history teacher and my involvement in National History Day. I am especially a huge fan of WWII. My two grandpas, both veterans, have taught me the values of honoring the sacrifices made by soldiers and I think the opportunity we are given to do just that is truly amazing.
I am so excited to meet all of you in person and to go to France, especially because I have never been out of the country!
And even though we aren’t known for our stellar football teams out here I still cheer for the Vikings. Although, I am a huge football fanatic and can get excited watching just about any game!