"It is shocking that something like this went on and nothing was done," said Milly Gonzalez, a student in Sandy Montesano's Honors American History class.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah, was set aside for remembering the victims of the Holocaust. While it is not a religious observance, the internationally recognized date comes from the Hebrew calendar and corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on that calendar.
The presentation, given by the students in the American History class, included poetry readings by the students about the Holocaust, most of which were written by Holocaust survivors.
The students also put together some Power Point presentations including the history of the Holocaust and personal accounts from survivors.
Understanding the present
According to Montesano, many of the students in her class watched the terrorist attack on World Trade Center on Sept. 11 from the third floor classrooms of the school building. She said that remembering the Holocaust is especially important after that event.
"We have students in all religions and backgrounds," said Montesano. "It is extremely important for them to understand what is going on today and why."
Each of Montesano's classes performed similar projects in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day; however, this class was the only class to present their projects to the public.
Although none of these students have lived through the Holocaust or anything like it, the students were able to grasp a greater understanding of the Holocaust through personal accounts from survivors and their poetry. "I just directed them," said Montesano. "They researched the information and chose the poetry themselves."
"The Holocaust is something that we can't forget," said Gonzalez, after reading the poem I Cannot Forget written by Holocaust survivor Alexander Kimmel.
These students also visited the Jewish Heritage Museum last year and watched the movie Schindler's List in preparation of the presentation.
"These are well-informed students," said Montesano, who said similar projects were also given to her other history classes as well.