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Students from River Eves Elementary School in Roswell learn of Holocaust from survivors

Vow 'never again'

In back, from left: River Eves teachers Susan Gowin, Jennifer Roth and Amy Day with students from Roth’s social studies classes. (click for larger version)

On the way to the buses for the field trip, students were offered the chance to privately reflect on the events they had studied and place a small stone next to the board in remembrance. (click for larger version)

Bella Allario, a fifth-grade student in front of the remembrance boards. (click for larger version)
March 28, 2013
ROSWELL, Ga. – Fifth-grade students at River Eves Elementary School continue to study the social issues of diversity, poverty and inclusion this school year, which is woven into all aspects of the curriculum, and their recent focus on World War II and the Holocaust is no exception.

Through in-class simulations, discussions, in-depth reading and multimedia reviews, students vowed "never again" as their study culminated in a visit to the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum in Atlanta, where their studies were further brought to life by a special presentation from Robert Ratonyi, a Holocaust survivor and father of Tina Ratonyi, a fifth-grade teacher at River Eves.

"I just can't understand why anyone would do such awful things to children and their families, just because they looked different or believed different things," said one student. "How could it have happened?"

Students researched children who perished in the Holocaust and created a yellow star with their photo and pertinent information on it. All of the stars were placed on a long, black display board titled, "Ms. Roth's classes remember..." and decorated with paintings depicting the students' reflections on their study. Students also viewed Oprah Winfrey's short interview with Elie Weisel, Holocaust survivor and author of "Night." Roth read a few parts of the book with her accelerated class. Social studies classes were supplemented by additional reading of "The Diary of Anne Frank," and Lois Lowry's historical fiction, "Number the Stars."

"I am very proud of our fifth-grade teachers for orchestrating this thoughtful and comprehensive educational experience," said Principal Neil Pinnock. "We hope that studies like these will ensure our students become citizens who contribute positively to social justice in our country."

This article was published in the RN March 28, 2013 edition

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