Teachers educated about Holocaust

Hubbard High School social studies teacher Deborah Wack, left, and language arts teachers Chris Moriarty attended a three-day conference on the Holocaust at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. They will be teaching units this fall and spring on the Holocaust in their classes.

HUBBARD — Two Hubbard High School teachers were among more than 220 educators to attend a three-day workshop this summer hosted by the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Hubbard High School social studies teacher Deborah Wack of Girard and language arts teacher Chris Moriarty of Howland said the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators was a “worthwhile event” that not only allowed them to tour the museum but provided them with the information and materials to add a new dimension to their students’ studies.

“As educators, this was an experience of a lifetime. We had full run of the museum each morning before the public,” Wack said. “We saw displays and met Holocaust survivors.”

The two said there were educators from Canada and parts of Europe in attendance.

“It was the best professional development I have ever had,” said Moriarty, who plans to attend next year. “Thirty-three hours in three days of extensive learning.”

Wack said she had designed a curriculum for Holocaust studies for her ninth-grade classes. Moriarty teaches the Holocaust in his freshman English classes through a book called “Night” written by Elie Wiesel, who survived the Holocaust and concentration camps.

“I thought the workshop would help me with my lessons,” Moriarty said.

“We are creating some cross-curriculum assignments to give the students in both classes. I will speak about literature involving the Holocaust and she will speak on the history,” he said.

Wack said she has contacted Jesse McClain with the Youngstown Jewish Federation, who has given her contacts for Holocaust speakers and Holocaust exhibits.

“The workshop taught teachers how to approach the Holocaust with different age groups,” Moriarty said.

Plans are to include diaries of prisoners and bystanders of the Holocaust to read.

Wack said she will address the Holocaust unit in her classes in the spring discussing Adolph Hitler and the rise of the Nazi party.

“There will be outside of class readings, journal entries and reviewing of artifacts and photographs,” she said. “I like to humanize what the students are learning.”

Moriarty said he will begin “Night” in the next nine weeks and analyze and discuss the book.

“This is a timely subject with all the rhetoric and talk in the world We will relate the lessons to today and the impact in the world,” he said.

Wack said the Holocaust can be difficult subject to teach due to the subject matter of what took place. Moriarty said the Holocaust did not just happen because of one individual at one small point in time but on a larger scale of events over time leading up to it. “The Holocaust was the result of choices made by groups of people,” he said.

Gretchen Skidmore, director of education initiatives for the Holocaust Museum’s William Levine Family Institute for Holocaust Education, said, “The U.S. Holocaust Museum works to ensure teachers have the training and resources they need to introduce their students to this important and complex history — and show them how its lessons remain relevant to all citizens today.”