SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — From a young age, English language students learn that a noun can be a person, place or thing; it all starts from there. Accelerated 9th grade English students at Washington High School are undertaking a project called “I <3 Sioux Falls” that will have kids honing their reading and writing skills while enhancing their historical awareness.

“What we say to our kids is the people, places and things and events of Sioux Falls that made Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls,” teacher Justin Heyd said.

After students pick a topic that might be a person like World War II pilot and governor Joe Foss or a cherished gathering spot like McKennan Park, they’ll put together a research paper on their chosen subject. 14-year-old Damien Deen will focus on Whittier Middle School, which he attended.

“When I was there, I thought that, like, the history there was very captivating, and I saw a lot of interesting things that I would like to look into,” Deen said.

15-year-old Gracie Lee has her eye on profiling the short-lived Queen Bee Mill.

“I have lived here my entire life, and my parents and their parents, and I didn’t know how interesting our history was,” Lee said.

The whole exercise is part English, part history and part civics.

“It’s important to learn about your community,” Heyd said. “Learn about, like, what made the city you live in the city that you live in.”