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CATA project demonstrates horror of Holocaust

Students walk through the halls at Central Academy of Technology and Arts (CATA) to view photos and poems that explain the story of the European Jews and other minorities sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust.

English Teacher Adam Tarlton did not think a 180-question test on Elie Wiesel's "Night" and the Holocaust was enough.

So, instead, students in his English class were given a week and a day to create a presentation about the event. It had to be moving and it had to memorialize the lives lost. They would receive either a pass or a fail grade.

The class at Central Academy of Technology and Arts transformed walls in the entrance of their school. They created signs to show how people were separated upon entering the concentration camps. They explained the gas chambers at some of the camps that were disguised as showers and the water fountains that were often poisoned.

They created a wall with photos and poems to explain the story of the European Jews and other minorities sent to concentration camps.

Sophomore Roni Rose, 15, was a group leader. Her grandfather is a survivor of the Holocaust. He was in eight different camps, including Auschwitz. Rose included one of his stories on the wall.

"I was really happy to see that kids weren't making fun of it," Rose said. She was pleased by the student's reactions.

Rose and other classmates have been asked to speak with other classes about the project and the Holocaust.

Tarlton was blown away by the student's work. "(It) far superseded my expectations," he said.

This is Tarlton's fifth year teaching. Last year, the students created a display outside of his classroom. Next year, they are talking about combining the efforts of all of the sophomore English classes, transforming part of the school into a Holocaust museum and allowing the public to enter.

"The kids every year seem to know less and less (about the Holocaust)," Tarlton said.

However, he sees it as an opportunity to teach them. He noted that this year was the first year no one doubted that the Holocaust happened.

The class spent seven weeks on the book "Night." It took them roughly a week to get through each chapter due to classroom discussions.

Rose's grandfather, Shalom Kramarski, is 82. He was born in Poland in 1929 and currently lives in Rehovot, Israel.

--Reprinted with permission from the Enquirer Journal.

Written by: Carolyn Steeves, education reporter for The Enquirer Journal
Posted: Dec 26, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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