Cave Creek teacher wins Bruce and Gaydos’ teacher tribute for April

Jun 12, 2024, 3:00 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2024, 10:14 am

Here at KTAR, we celebrate teachers even when school's out...

Bret Lineburg teaches American history and U.S. military history. He also advises a club that connects high school students with veterans. (Photo credits from left to right: from Cactus Shadows High School, Bret Lineburg, Arizona Heritage Project)

(Photo credits from left to right: from Cactus Shadows High School, Bret Lineburg, Arizona Heritage Project)

PHOENIX — School’s out for summer, but here at the KTAR newsroom, we celebrate teachers all year round.

In April, KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos‘ Pay Tribute to a Teacher reward went to a Cave Creek high school teacher. The monthly reward is presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.

Bret Lineburg loves general American history as well as the history of the U.S. military. He teaches both subjects in his work at Cactus Shadows High School. In fact, he developed the course on military history back in 2018.

Lineburg is passionate about helping veterans, a trait he encourages in his students.

“It really stems from a club that I do called Veterans Heritage Project,” he said. “Me and the students will interview veterans in the community. The kids will actually take their recorded interviews and then write a narrative essay around it.”

Every year, those essays are published in a volume called Since You Asked.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for both the kids and the best but the kids are absolute superstars,” Lineburg said.

How did the Veterans Heritage Project come to be?

These volumes are part of the Arizona Heritage Project, which the Salt River Project started in 2003.

That first year, SRP sponsored five student groups that documented state history, according to the National Council for the Social Studies.

Cactus Shadows High School was one of those recipients. It received $3,000 to archive the town’s Christmas pageant. SRP then renewed its support of the project in 2004. Students started documenting veterans’ stories — and the Veterans Heritage Project has been staying strong ever since.

“We just celebrated our 20th anniversary this year,” Lineburg said. “I started advising the club in 2017 and since then, you know, we’ve interviewed, from the very beginning, about 3,000 veterans.”

Veterans are often hesitant to open up to their families and other adults, but not to high schoolers who are eager to learn, Lineburg added.

“This is an opportunity for them to express their experiences and their feelings in a very non-judgmental, very open and honest forum,” he said. “It’s such a great opportunity for the veterans to share their stories and for the students to understand and empathize with people from a different generation.”

Want to celebrate teachers? Use this form

Community members who would like to nominate a teacher can use this online form.

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Cave Creek teacher wins Bruce and Gaydos’ teacher tribute for April