St. Rose School, Chelsea, MA – April 5, 2013 AM

by George J Elbaum

St. Rose School is a small inner city Catholic school dedicated to educating children of all races, creeds, and nationalities. It prides itself in being “a close knit community that not only embraces the diversity of its students and parents but respects it as well.”  With approximately 250 students in grades pre-K through 8, St Rose strives “to meet the needs of our students and their families through works of love, mercy, and justice since 1872.”  Its diverse student body gives the students a strong sense of appreciation for human differences, a value they will hopefully carry for the rest of their lives.  Towards that goal, St. Rose students start every morning with prayer and a PeaceBuilders Pledge, wherein they pledge “To praise people; To give up put-downs; To seek wise people; To notice and speak up about hurts we have caused; To right wrongs; To help others; To build peace at home, at school, and in our community each day.”  The aim of this PeaceBuilders program is “a common language about the kind of behavior we expect in our school.  This not only supports the Gospel values we study in religion class, but actively seeks to prevent bullying in our school community.”

To further that goal, St. Rose now includes the study of the Holocaust with support of Facing History and Ourselves, and teacher Matt Schell organized my visit together with Judi Bohn of Facing History.  I truly appreciated Matt’s serious approach to this subject and his subsequent statement to me to me that he will “never forget the message ‘Never again’ in regard to Holocaust denial.”

A week after my talk I received in the mail 27 colorful and imaginative “Thank you” cards made by Matt’s students.  All were very heartfelt, but one in particular made me smile and wish its writer success: “I want to thank you for teaching me that you can do anything if you work for it, like being accepted to MIT, which is my goal just like it was yours!”

edited group

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