by George J Elbaum
Malden High School is a public high school founded in 1857, and its current enrollment of 1870 might be the most diverse in Massachusetts, with the native languages spoken by its students numbering 18. Racial diversity goes with the language diversity, and the student body is 28% white, 24% Asian, 22% Hispanic, 21% black, and 3% of two or more races. Such high diversity, plus 61% of students being from economically disadvantages families, results in a large educational burden on the school’s administration and its 114 full-time teachers. Though 95% of the teachers have 3 or more years of experience (significantly higher than the 86% state average) only partly ameliorates this burden – it surely results in a higher workload and pressure.
My talk to Malden’s approximately 400 10th graders was organized by teachers Kerry Veritas and Sean Walsh. The preparation of most of these students consisted of visiting the International Museum of WWII where they learned about propaganda, anti-Semitism, life in the concentration camps, and conditions in Europe during WWII. Human level connection was arranged when students visited the museum’s Holocaust room by the participation of a Holocaust survivor.
In addition to Kerry Veritas, attending the talk were teachers Greg Hurley, Pat Finnegan, Mike Lightbody, Ellsworth Fersch, Nierika Nims and Melissa Macey. Arrangements for my talk were made by Judi Bohn and Jeff Smith of Facing History and Ourselves .