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Charter Academy students commemorate the Holocaust

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter

Students at the North Country Charter Academy in Lancaster are presenting to the public a showing of Schindler's List at the Rialto Theatre on April 30 at 6 p.m. Here they are pictured with their teacher Scott Kleinschrodt during an interview about their project. Left to right: Kaden Covill, James Duguay, Scott Kleinschrodt, Pheobe Sandillo, Isaiah Tillson, Kendrick Cass, Penelope Rowell and Sara Sullivan. (Photo by Tara Giles) (click for larger version)
April 25, 2019
LANCASTER — The North Country Charter Academy students in Lancaster have been studying the Holocaust since school began in September.

NCCA teacher Scott Kleinschrodt explained his goal for the year long project: "One of our two goals was to look at this from a historical perspective as well as to study a bit of human behavior and talk about how we can avoid something like this happening in the future. Another goal was to begin to have young people with different ideas have civil conversations and to tie this in to what's happening in our world today."

To culminate the project, the students will offer a showing of the movie "Schindler's List" at the Rialto Theatre in Lancaster at 6 p.m. on April 30. The students will also offer a presentation of their own to all those who attend. Incidentally, Holocaust Remembrance Day will occur on May 1, explaining the timing of this event.

On a Thursday morning last week, this Editor sat down with the students who explained more about their project. Student Patrick Hopkins explained that Hitler wanted the youth on his side for the simple fact that the youth is who will control the future.

Hopkins said, "We now know that we need to learn about this time in history so it will not happen again."

Fellow student Penelope Rowell added, "We can't ever physically control the actions of another, all we can do is educate. I feel that we can't simply teach people about what happened, we need to make connections and make these lessons more tangible."

She added, "These things are still happening today overseas. We need to show others how these horrific acts effect economy and people as well."

Kleinschrodt pointed out other instances in the United States as well as in Cambodia and other places where Holocaust like actions occurred, saying "We have to look at how some of this happened before so we can learn to avoid it."

So far, the class has had 20 lessons on the subject.

"We all have different opinions. One thing we learned is how to be respectful of everyone's opinion and I think this group was very successful in doing that," said Kleinschrodt.

Rowell added, "There were some debates and there was some friction but we always had productive conversations."

Student Isaiah Tillson related some of the events that led up to the Holocaust to what is happening today, according to his point of view, commenting "Our president is holding immigrants and separating families. This is how things started out with the Nazis."

Kaden Covill pointed out to Tillson that the President has since made attempts to reverse the laws in regards to families being separated.

When discussing the positives about the project, James Duguay said, "This topic really did unite all of us and taught us to adapt and work as a group and to accept other's opinions while still having our own."

Sara Sullivan, added to that thought, "I feel like I learned how to form an opinion based on actual facts and learned how to adapt to different things going on by asking certain questions."

Tillson said, "I learned how to control my emotions about other's opinions."

One topic discussed with the group was how they handled any disturbing footage and what moments stuck with them.

Sullivan said, "We watched a video of an old man who had survived the Holocaust and he was crying so hard, and that really hurt to watch. He was sharing his story and still getting so choked up years later."

Rowell said, "We read a passage about a family who was living underneath a store hiding out. The store owner protected them while risking his own life."

Kendrick Cass talked about the soldiers, saying "We were watching an interview with a soldier where he said that this is just his job. The fact that he became so numb to it was something that really resonated with me."

"I found a picture of Nazis looking for Jewish families, and in it they were throwing newborn babies in the backs of cars. I don't understand how humans can treat other humans that way," said Tillson.

Throughout the course of the lessons, author K. Heidi Fishman visited the students where she talked about her book, 'Tutti's Promise' in which she writes about her mother who was a survivor of the Holocaust. The author lives in Norwich, Vt.

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