A Day of Remembrance

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Two powerful guest speakers took the stage to deliver their stories of survival during Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Day on April 7 at High School West.

Tenth-graders spent the day learning about the tragedies of genocide in both the past and present. Holocaust survivor and Smithtown resident Werner Reich spoke about his experiences in concentration camps. During the question-and-answer session, students learned more about how he survived, his feelings during his imprisonment and how he made his way to the United States.

Film presentations on the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur gave students an inside perspective into the violence that has occurred in other countries. After learning about the current civil war in Syria, students participated in a fundraising effort for Syria children. Each student created and designed a pinwheel that will be mailed to the Bezos Family Foundation. The foundation will match each pinwheel with a $2 donation to the International Rescue Committee’s Healing Classrooms program.  

Joseph Sebarenzi, a Rwandan genocide survivor, closed out the day by recounting his journey of survival of civil wars and genocide in Rwanda and his insights about conflict prevention and reconciliation.