By George J Elbaum
The newly remodeled Spanaway Lake High School is situated in a tranquil, wooded, green lawn campus, and thus a surprising sight shortly after turning off a busy commercial thoroughfare. An even bigger surprise was teacher Kelly Wheeler and her 3 combined Honors classes, Communication Arts and AP Language and Composition, of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. The 3 classes totalling 78 students had spent about a month studying the Holocaust, including Elie Wiesel’s Night, and working for several weeks designing and constructing small Holocaust memorials, some table-top and some wall-hanging, which showed amazing sensitivity, creativity, and serious effort. These were placed throughout the library with the help of librarian Sandy Wusterbarth-Brown the day before my talk, and are shown on some of the photos below. I was deeply moved by these memorials which, together with heartfelt statements by some of the students, told me why Kelly was named Bethel School District’s Teacher of the Year. The event was arranged by Janna Charles of Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center.