by George J Elbaum
California High School (CalHigh), San Ramon, CA, has current enrollment of 2942 students in grades 9 thru 12, of which 61.6% are minority and 6% economically disadvantaged. Its academic record is excellent: while attaining a 4-year graduation rate of 99%, its 2022 US News/Best High Schools Rankings are #1049 Nationally, #149 California, and #30 San Francisco Bay area. This is reflected by student scores of 77% Reading Proficiency vs. 60% state average, 61% Math vs. 30% state average, and 50% Science vs. 30% state average – an enviable record. CalHigh’s demographics are White 38.4%, Asian 39.7%, Hispanic 11.9%, two or more races 7.7%, and Black 1.9%.
My 2 presentations (February 3 and February 6) were to approximately 200 10th grade students in English and History who’ve been studying World History between the two World Wars and were organized by CalHigh teachers Regina Lyon and Ben Andersen. The students’ preparations included reading Elie Wiesel’s Night and looking at art that came from survivors of the Holocaust. Students also investigated artwork by survivors of other genocides to determine how art and language are used to describe an experience that is beyond the average human comprehension.
Both events were organized by Regina Lyon and Ben Andersen and supported by CalHigh parent and guardian community donations. My participation was arranged by Sadie Simon, Education Program Manager, and supported by Andrea Struve, Director of Education, JFCS Holocaust Center