by George J Elbaum
Nashoba Regional High School, in Bolton some 40 miles from Boston, is a suburban high school with an enrollment of nearly 1200 students. While there is very little diversity in the mostly white student body, there is strong awareness and interest in issues of diversity and tolerance in the world at large. To this end, a one semester elective course in Facing History was introduced and the reception has been extremely positive with 28 students registering for it the first year, which is high for a new elective. Its teacher, Michelle Fohlin, found that the students really want to look deeper into the Holocaust-specific material being studied and the broader related issues. For example, after a lesson on the all white “sundown towns” in America’s past, one of the students took the initiative by going to the town’s historical society for more information about his own region and why there was so little diversity. While the student discovered no evidence that it had been a “sundown town,” his initiative is admirable and shows the genuine interest and effects of the class.
My presentation was organized by teacher Michelle Fohlin and attended not only by her Facing History class but also joined by an English class studying World War II memoirs and an AP class of U.S. history. Facing History’s Judi Bohn and Danny Conklin coordinated my visit.