by George J Elbaum
The Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE) of Omaha, NE, was established in 2001 with the mission to provide educational resources, workshops, survivor testimony, and integrated arts programming to middle and high school students. IHE’s annual Week of Understanding is in its 12th year and brings testimony of Holocaust survivors to over 7,000 students in Nebraska and Iowa each year. This year there are 8 speakers and 12 schools participating. The 2 schools to whose students I spoke are Seward Middle School on March 22 and Fremont Middle School on March 24.
Seward Middle School in Seward, NE, serves just over 410 students in grades 5-8. The school utilizes the concept of grade level teaming and exploratory classes to offer a diverse curriculum, including instructional programs in art, computer education, language arts, sciences, social studies, Spanish, health, family and consumer sciences, mathematics, vocal and instrumental music, physical education, agriculture education, special education, and high ability learner education.
The activities program for students include football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and track. Clubs and other student activity groups include cross country, builder’s club, bully response team, and several vocal and instrumental music groups.
My presentation to 111 8th grade students was organized by teacher Audrey Ahrens, and Seaward’s participation in the Week of Understanding was arranged by Scott Littky, IHE’s Executive Director, and Kael Sagheer, Education Coordinator of Institute for Holocaust Studies. Attending also were Seward teachers & staff.