by George J Elbaum
St. Peter’s Elementary School, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1878, is an elementary and middle school with approximately 300 students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The school is one of the Archdiocese of San Francisco Catholic Schools and a vital part of the parish, a predominantly Latino community in San Francisco’s Mission District. Since its foundation, St. Peter’s has served all economic levels of the community by providing a well-rounded academic and Catholic education in a partnership with parents, who are recognized as the primary educators of their children. “The school recognizes its important role in the growth and development of students and their families, and it thus promotes Gospel values and fosters peace, justice, integrity, honesty and love for learning.”
As part of that effort, St. Peter’s now has for its 8th graders a month-long study of the Holocaust taught by teacher Nina Martinez, who organized the event with help from the school’s Vice-Principal, Karen Hammen. In preparation for my visit the students read Elie Wiesel’s Night, were very responsive and enthusiastic during my talk, and the next day one of them posted the following message on my website: “Having you share your experience with St. Peter’s 8th grade had a huge impact on us and on the way we thought of the Holocaust…. Thank you so very much for taking your time to talk to us. The 8th graders and I at St. Peter’s appreciate it. :) “
My presentation was arranged by Katie Cook of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services.