Coginchaug Junior Selected for WW1 Restoration in France


From July 6 to July 26, 2019, Coginchaug junior Joseph Viski, along with 15 other Connecticut high school students, will travel to Seicheprey, France as a part of the Digging into History program. There, they will restore World War I trenches occupied by Connecticut troops from the 102nd Infantry Regiment.
According to the Digging into History website, students will strengthen a bond formed by World War I troops by working with 15 other French students “to clear and restore a section of the trenches Connecticut soldiers occupied, with the goal of creating a historic attraction to help spur tourism in the region.”
“[The] restoration will involve re-digging the trenches, clearing vegetation, installing duckboards and other features a WWI trench would have,” Viski explained. “We will also be taking culinary classes, going

Joe Viski and his 1973 Super Beetle

on hikes, trips to museums, and going to Paris for the last four days of the trip!”
After being told about the program by social studies teacher Mrs. Julie Lagace, Viski applied, knowing the program would be perfect for him.
“I have Joe in class right now, but I was impressed with him as a student before I even met him,” said Lagace. “I remember last year, he was in Mr. Pulino’s class and did a presentation on all of his World War I memorabilia. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s someone who has a really strong interest in this topic.’ So, when the opportunity for this three weeks in France restoring a World War I trench came across my email, I knew it would be right for him, and that’s sort of how the ball got rolling.”  The application process consisted of three essay questions, multiple letters of recommendation, and, at a later date, an interview process.
“I was one of the lucky ones,” Viski explained. “I didn’t have to interview; I was directly awarded a spot.”

Viski’s love for history was a driving factor as to why he applied. Born from a fifth grade trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, his love has led to a collection of historical military items, such as uniforms, helmets, and gas masks. It also led to the restoration of a 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle with his father.
“I am most excited about seeing and being able to work on such a significant part of history that I may never see again, let alone work on,” said Viski.
Due to the steep cost of the program, Viski has set up a GoFundMe to help alleviate the costs. You can find it here: