The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Credit: Joshua Lee
Junior Olivia Houck among other students spent their time walking through the installation and taking in all the information. Different grade levels walked through the installation at different times. They began by grabbing a flameless candle and a packet of guiding questions before entering the installation.

Michael Gyory looked out at the 10th graders he was meeting with in a Goodhue classroom and asked, “How many of you knew all four of your grandparents?” Most of the students raised their hands. “Well, I didn’t know any of mine,” Gyory said, “they were all killed in the Holocaust.”

Gyory’s story was just one of many powerful experiences shared with K-12 students on January 26th to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Students followed a special schedule from 8:05 a.m. to 10:10 a.m., which included a variety of workshops.

Upper School students gathered in their homeroom at 8:05 a.m. for an all-school Zoom assembly during which Assistant Director of the Upper School Chris Arnold showed the students a video with historical background on the Holocaust. After the assembly ended at 8:25 a.m., each grade level was assigned to a different activity and followed a different schedule, while all eventually getting to complete the same activities.

One activity was an interactive installation in the Sternberg Library. Students began by gathering in the senior lounge to pick up a flameless memorial candle and a packet with guided questions. As they walked up the stairs to the library, they were quiet and ready to begin touring the exhibit. A series of posters were set up in a timeline around the library. The posters began with the rise of the Nazi party and ended with the liberation and end of the Holocaust. During this time, students paused at each poster taking in all the information, and absorbing what they learned with the guided questions.

“I thought that the set-up was interesting and very effective because people could take their time to walk through the installation. The classroom setting was more personal and I really enjoyed listening to the person give their presentation, and I learned a lot of things that I did not know before. Overall, it was very engaging and personal,” said senior Remi Myers.

Another activity was a viewing of How To: Never Forget, a Holocaust remembrance film by Montana Tucker. This educational docuseries depicts Montana Tucker’s journey to Poland as she visited different memorials and museums to learn more about her family’s history. Through this, her mission is to educate people so that they can never forget about the Holocaust.

Perhaps the most powerful part of the morning was the survivor presentations. Upwards of 30 volunteers came in to share their stories and the stories of their family members.

“My homeroom’s speaker emphasized the idea that some people did not consider themselves Jewish at first, and she discussed how her grandma considered herself Polish before Jewish because she had lived in Poland for so long. It really showed how the Nazis did not care about anyone’s personal history. If a person had any Jewish heritage, they were considered Jewish, and therefore persecuted,” said senior NJ Roc-Sennett.

To conclude the program, students gathered in their homerooms to reflect on all the information they learned. There were two prompts to help students reflect on the different events. They were asked to recall details that stood out to them and explain why. Next, they were asked to reflect on the importance of acknowledging a day like International Holocaust Remembrance Day and reflect on some quotes given to them. Students were very appreciative of the special program.

“I learned about the Holocaust a lot, and everyone has different stories to share, so listening to new perspectives was something that I am so grateful for,” said senior Phoebe Abrahms.

 
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