by George J Elbaum
Tennyson High School is a comprehensive public high school with approximately 1,300 students. The school is extremely diverse and serves many students for whom English is a second language. In both social studies and English courses, teachers make use of resources from Facing History and Ourselves to teach about the Holocaust as well as other difficult subjects.
My visit to Tennyson on May 10th was preceded by preparatory sessions on May 6th by Jack Weinstein, a Sr. Program Advisor for Facing History. Some of the topics students had been exposed to before the visit included a study of propaganda; a film study using The Boy in Striped Pajamas; an introduction to themes of conformity and obedience using the story and film, Confessions of a Hitler Youth; a critical viewing of the popular film, Swing Kids; Facing History’s Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust; and an ongoing study of Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night.
Two Tennyson teachers hosted my talk for their multiple classes: Charlie Stephens and Jaynee Ruiz, who teach English and World History respectively, and they arranged for my talk through Jack Weinstein. Attending also was teacher Jeff Klenow, and Jack’s Facing History colleague, Sarah Altschul, introduced the session and moderated an active Q & A.