Smithtown Students Immerse in a Day of Awareness

Smithtown Students Immerse in a Day of Awareness photo
Smithtown Students Immerse in a Day of Awareness photo 2
Smithtown Students Immerse in a Day of Awareness photo 3
Tenth-graders participated in the 17th annual Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Day on April 12. At both High School West and High School East, the 10th-graders immersed themselves in the study of what happened during the Holocaust, the Cambodia genocide, the Rwandan genocide and what is currently happening to the Rohingya in Myanmar throughout the day.

Students heard from Holocaust survivor Werner Reich, as well as Rwandan genocide survivor Jacqueline Murekatete. Both guest speakers stressed the importance of speaking up and making a difference. The students watched scenes from “The Killing Fields” and “Hotel Rwanda” for more insight into the genocides that are happening in the 21st century. At the end of the day, students completed a question and answer booklet and provided reflection on the day’s events. 

“The importance of educating the current generation about the Holocaust and genocide is two-fold,” said Christina Cone, High School West social studies teacher. “For one, this is the last generation who will be able to hear the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust and it will be incumbent upon them to keep the memory alive. In addition, genocides and human atrocities continue to happen. The hope is that through events like these and hearing the messages of the survivors, students will internalize the importance of accepting others and speaking up when needed.”