Project Partners

Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC)



Video production for the Time of Remembrance Project was funded by EGUSD and provided by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC)
Link to SECC Website

Gail Desler

Gail Desler, National Writing Project Teacher Consultant, a Google Certified Innovator, Common Sense Educator, and a Retired Technology Integration Specialist for the Elk Grove Unified School District believes in supporting students in becoming “change writers,” empowered to use technology in ways that make a positive difference in all the communities to which they belong, online or face-to-face.

Gail Desler and Marielle Tsukamoto

Gail Desler and Marielle Tsukamoto at the 2013 Rotary Club of Elk Grove’s Hometown Hero award presentation.

During Gail’s 21 years at EGUSD, she often reflected back on her first year as a 5th grade teacher. Midway through the year, her teaching partner told her they needed to reserve a school bus and send students home with field trip permission slips to attend the district’s annual Time of Remembrance program. She explained that the purpose of the Time of Remembrance program was (and still is) to provide 5th grade students and their teachers with a window into the incarceration experience of Japanese Americans (most of them U.S. Citizens) during World War II. In the weeks following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the history of this small rural farming community was forever changed when over 120,000 people of Japanese heritage were removed from the West Coast, a gross violation of their constitutional rights.

While attending the Time of Remembrance exhibit with her 5th grade class, Gail introduced herself to Marielle Tsukamoto and invited her to come visit her classroom so her students could delve deeper into this story from their own community. Marielle accepted the invitation. In the hour she spent in her classroom, Gail witnessed her students come to the understanding that history does not just happen in textbooks; history happens within their own communities and neighborhoods.

Four years after meeting Marielle, Gail transitioned from a classroom teacher to a district technology integration specialist. She attended an event with Marielle sponsored by the Florin JACL (Japanese American Citizens League). As they were leaving the event, Marielle mentioned a soldier from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (one of the most decorated units in American history) who had recently passed away and how sorry she was that I never had the opportunity to meet him and hear his story.

It was that conversation that sparked the Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project. Thanks to the support of Superintendent and the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium – and with much encouragement from Marielle – documenting and preserving the hidden histories and hidden stories from our community soon transitioned from a conversation to a reality.

We are forever grateful to Gail for starting this project back in 2005 and we are honored to carry on the legacy of this important work for our students and our community.