by George J Elbaum
Tennyson High School is a comprehensive public high school in Hayward, CA, with approximately 1,300 students. The school is extremely diverse (69% Hispanic, 9% Black, 7% Asian, of which 81% are from low-income families) and for many of these students 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 social subjects.
This was my third annual visit to Tennyson, and it was preceded by preparatory sessions by Jack Weinstein, Sr. Program Advisor for Facing History and Ourselves, for the school’s English and World History classes. They had reviewed the basic historical narrative of the Holocaust, were reading “Night”, and are working towards writing first person narrative monologues from the point of view of different Jewish partisans/resistors. The Q & A, my favorite part of any talk, started in a quite restrained mode, just as it did last year, but then it blossomed into a rollicking back-and-forth on my Holocaust childhood and also my current life. It was a truly fun experience for me and hopefully a useful exchange for the students.
My talk was organized by World History teacher Jaynee Ruiz and English teacher Charlie Stephens, and arranged by Facing History’s Jack Weinstein.