2 schools honored by Holocaust Museum

Freeman and Henrico High Schools were recognized recently by the Virginia Holocaust Museum for their efforts to teach students about the Holocaust and genocide.

The museum’s director of education, Rena Berlin presented the “NOW” award to both schools for going above and beyond in giving students a closer look at the Holocaust.

It was the first time the museum had ever given the award.

“I think this award will spark even more interest and awareness of the mission of the museum and the initiatives of our school organizations that have partnered with the museum,” said Freeman High School Principal Anne Poates.

Teachers from both schools participated in the museum’s Alexander Lebenstein Teacher Education Institute, a three credit graduate class in conjunction with the University of Richmond, which is taught by museum staff and current and former classroom teachers at the museum. Both schools brought students on tours of the museum during the school year.

Henrico High School brought its entire staff to the museum for training on how to teach students about the Holocaust before school began.

“It is exciting to receive this award because our efforts went beyond learning about the Holocaust. Everyone learned not only how to become tolerant of other cultures, but how to embrace these cultures as well,” said Henrico High School Principal Ron Rodriguez. “We are extremely grateful and humbled by the recognition.”

The two schools tried to gain an understanding of the Holocaust in a variety of ways, through art, music and critical examination.

“The (schools) understood that in order to teach about ‘Man's inhumanity to man’ they needed to focus on teaching students about genocide, past and present, in order to change the world,” Berlin said. “I am excited that these schools stepped out of the SOL pattern in order to bring depth of understanding and analysis.”
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