Sophomores Learn Empathy in Remembering Holocaust

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In advance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, high school sophomores in Gregory Kguloian’s English Language Arts class recently finished reading the nonfiction book “Night” by Elie Wiesel, a painful and haunting memoir of what the author endured during the Holocaust. The book ends with the liberation of the concentration camp where 16-year-old Wiesel was held prisoner. According to Kguloian, his students are approximately the same age as Wiesel was, which increased their empathy and made the real-life story all the more relevant to them.

“Kids today are extremely empathetic and well aware that groups such as ISIS are the most recent scourge to threaten civilization as we know it,” said Kguloian. “However, my students have come to understand Edmund Burke’s statement that all that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. In their understanding of the gravitas of Wiesel’s book, they showed true appreciation and sincere sympathy, which really filled me with pride and the belief that this generation is probably the best since the Greatest Generation, who lived during the time period that they just read about. It is important for our young people today to be able to connect with those who came before us and to truly appreciate what some people have gone through to better appreciate our place in the timeline of humanity.”

After the class finished reading “Night,” they were introduced to related and connected artifacts from the same time period to help make the era more tangible. This included a review of several journals written by teenagers who lived – and in some cases, died – during the Holocaust.

“This was a great lesson and an awesome resource for Mr. Kguloian’s students,” said Principal Bill Brennen. “No wonder they do so well, with all that information at their fingertips.”