Charlene Paparizos  440-247-4363

Eighth-graders study Holocaust with parents

On Feb. 27, eighth-grade students at Chagrin Falls Middle School met a Holocaust survivor at a “Face to Face” presentation at the Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood.  The speakers shared engaging and powerful personal stories while inspiring students to value one another. “There are many ways to explore diversity. But if we can focus on one thing that is common across the board that reaches varying cultures, religions and abilities, it’s empathy,” Chagrin Falls Middle School Principal Laila Discenza said. “It encourages tolerance and compassion. Not only do we want our students to have positive relationships we want them to develop beneficial skills for success. Visiting Congregation Shaarey Tikvah will have a lasting impact on our school beyond that of a lesson or team activity.” 

The school extended this learning to families as well. A parent book club, developed and led by Chagrin Falls schools media specialist Angie Jameson, took place in March.  Eighth-grade parents were encouraged to read the book, “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris. Mrs. Jameson provided guiding questions so that families could have discussions pertaining to what they were learning about in English and social studies, as they are studying World War II and the Holocaust while reading “A Boy in the Striped Pajamas” or “Parallel Journeys.”  

“It’s important for kids to understand what adults, whether teachers or family members, value,” Ms. Discenza said.  “This book group experience builds this connection. Students and families received the opportunity to talk about a common theme while understanding the content, the meaning and our present responsibilities. Now the two can have one discussion at home to really emphasize the impact. Together, we grow children and this is one way we can work efficiently.  The book was amazing and the conversations were profound. I can only imagine how the family and community discussions were extended.”

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