School of Education Student to Deliver Memorial Day Address

Photo of Joe Knoer. Joe Knoer will present his paper at the Vermillion VFW Memorial Day Observance May 29.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Joseph Knoer, a University of South Dakota graduate student studying secondary education, will deliver the Vermillion VFW’s Memorial Day Observance address on Monday, May 29, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church.

Knoer, from Ruthven, Iowa, won the Clay County Fallen contest hosted by the Vermillion VFW 3061 and School of Education which tasked students with researching and writing a biography about the life of a fallen veteran from Clay County, South Dakota. Students researched fallen heroes from the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War eras.

Knoer’s project centered on Vietnam veteran, James L. Fuchs, a third generation military member. Starting at the Clay County Historical Society, Knoer’s research eventually led him to James’ brother, Bill, in Pierre, South Dakota, where he was able to discuss James’ life and family.

“Both of his grandparents served in the military. And his father and four uncles served in World War II,” said Knoer, who is a sergeant in the Iowa National Guard.

Jing Williams, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, developed the Clay County Fallen program to utilize the resources of the local community in hopes of inspiring her students to employ these same techniques when they are leading a classroom.

“As a social studies educator, the local community is always a big part of my work,” said Williams. “Contributing to the community-at-large through service-learning is an effective way to cultivate young people’s civic competence.”

Knoer, who is also pursuing his teaching certification in social science education, said he believed the experience brought to life one of Clay County’s fallen veterans.

“On day one, he was a name on a piece of paper,” said Knoer. “But he became a real person by the end of the project. I could picture him.”


USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and kinesiology and sport management.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News