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Messages of Support for CHHRE
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Brigitta Mc Tigue
Julie Mc Ginty
Ray Armstrong .
The following are messages of public support that were received during the month of May
while newspapers were reporting on the need to find new funding for
The Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education (CHHRE).
English Instructor/Reading Specialist
Lincoln Park Academy
1806 Avenue I
Pierce, FL 34950-6099
Florida Council for the Social Studies
District 14 Board Member
To Whom It May Concern:
It never ceases to amaze me that the programs that desperately need to be funded are the
very ones that go under the chopping block FIRST!
Last summer, I attended a week long
Holocaust Summer Institute at the FAU Jupiter campus. Although the topic
was depressingly sad and horrific, I learned so much. As a result, my
students and I started The Save Darfur Club on our campus. I was also
able to teach my seniors more about the Holocaust than I had in the
previous year. I felt like the expert one needs to be in order to
disseminate the correct information to young minds on the Holocaust.
I received a plethora of information from that summer institute.
Not only did I better myself as a lifelong learner but I was also able
to speak and share with my students with much more ease and with more
expertise than I had the year prior.
I felt blessed to have had someone like Dr. Rose
Gatens, whom I feel is the expert in her field, conducting last year's
FAU Summer Institute. I met several Holocaust survivors in whose
presence I was in awe. I would not have had that experience had it not
been for funding to that particular program.
Let's all reassess the benefits of funding to
programs that (1) help teachers to be better at the job they have to do;
(2) offer a refresher course for teachers; (3) are provided to teachers
at a minimal fee or no charge; and (4) have far-reaching effects for the
students who will eventually be handed the baton to become caring and
functioning citizens, even teachers, in the future. We definitely need
to reassess cutting funding that truly benefits society in
a lifelong learner
I want to let you know how I have benefited from the CHHRE program. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist at
Whispering Pines Elementary who is very interested in the importance of
Tolerance Awareness. I am the primary contact teacher for teachers of all
grade levels who have questions regarding teaching Tolerance Awareness.
I have also written grants for materials relating to teaching the
Holocaust. I have gained invaluable knowledge by attending the summer
institute teacher programs, traveling to the Holocaust Museums in D.C.
and in Sarasota., borrowing Holocaust materials (movies and books) and
most importantly scheduling Holocaust Survivors to come talk to the
students. All of this has been through CHHRE.
Dr. Rose Gatens is
indispensible as the director. I contact her on a regular basis for
curriculum ideas that are appropriate for various grade levels and to
borrow materials. Her knowledge has facilitated the teaching of the
Holocaust at Whispering Pines.
On another level, I am the Director of
Education at Congregation Beth Adam's Children's Education Program. Dr.
Gatens's impact is not limited to the School District of Palm Beach
County. She and this program have also impacted my Sunday School students.
The CHHRE loans materials to my school and has scheduled Holocaust
survivors to come speak to my students. Through CHHRE my Sunday School
students have also become aware of the disturbing situation in Darfur and
participated in several Save Darfur rallies.
Dr. Gatens and the FAU
Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education are indispensable and
should never be in danger of closing. The lessons of the Holocaust and
the importance of teaching Human Rights and tolerance should never be
Sincerely, BJ Saul, Whispering Pines Elementary Director of Education, Congregation Beth Adam
I have used the
Center many times. I’ve attended lectures and I went on the March
of the Educators with Dr. Gatens several years ago. SHE IS BRILLIANT!
Over the years I have requested materials and support and I always
know that the Center will be there for me. I invite a survivor to speak to
my classes every year and rely on the Center for up to date information.
The impact the speakers have on students will be felt for the rest
of their lives…. I read all the letters they send to the survivors, so I
In this time of hatred, in some parts of the world,
it is crucial for the work of this Center to continue. EDUCATION IS OUR
ONLY HOPE to change the future of our students and
Respectfully, Renee Kessler
My name is Sharona Kay and I appreciate the opportunity to support the Center for
Holocaust and Human Rights Education. I teach a Holocaust elective at
Boca Raton High School and I know my classes have been enriched greatly by
the Holocaust Center in many ways.
First, the Holocaust Center
routinely loans my class sets of books, or videos and DVDs. In the
past, I have borrowed many times each year, and my students have found
books like Night, The Other Victims, and I Never Saw Another Butterfly to
be particularly meaningful. Because I can borrow these materials,
instead of buying them for my students, I have the opportunity to read
many different texts with my students, and to alter texts from year to
year. In addition to books, I also borrow videos and DVDs from the
Of course, it is not always easy to know which are the
best books or videos to show a class, but Rose Gatens is a source of
unlimited knowledge and support. I have on many occassions e-mailed her
a request for materials on a particular topic, and she sends me a variety
of materials to read or watch so that I can chose the best for my
students. I generally find it hard to choose because all the materials
she sends are so interesting.
In addition to supplying materials, the
Holocaust Center staff also arranges for speakers to come to our school.
Just yesterday, the Holocaust Center sent Mr. Bachner, a survivor of
Auschwitz, to speak to over 800 students at Boca Raton High School. I am
not exaggerating when I say that the students were so engrossed in his
speech that you could "hear a pin drop." Several students were so moved
by his talk that they stayed through lunch to talk with him further. And
I have already received several touching letters from students who want
me to forward them to Mr. Bachner. They are truly beautiful letters and
reading them leaves know doubt that a survivor's words can have a deep
impact on our students today.
I cannot thank Rose Gatens enough for all
her help throughout these past few years and I do hope the Holocaust
Center will remain open for a very long time so that many teachers and
students in addition to myself can better educate ourselves about the
past in order to ensure a better future.
Thank you for this opportunity to express my gratitude,
This Center has helped with my High School
students in providing books, videos, and speakers. It has made a
tremendous difference in the available materials to help teach our
This Center is a huge help in teaching this sensitive subject to our students.
I have been fortunate to use the materials often ranging from 3rd to 6th grade.
The Center is an invaluable resource.
Sincerely, Daniela Whiteside
I am a Holocaust survivor, who has been working
with the Center for at least ten years.
I was so appalled at the the thought it
may close that I went to temple after temple giving out the email
addresses of the politicians , who I thought may be able to help
save the Center...everywhere I went , also at my Club , everyone begged
for the addresses so they could help, too.
Many also said they would send
is so gratifying to know that all the effort proved
Anita Hoffer, President Kindertransport of Florida
Brigitta Mc Tigue
I am a Library Media Specialist at Park Vista High School in Boynton Beach. I also sponsor a
Multicultural Club and host activities that promote respect for students
of all cultures on campus. The Center for Holocaust and Human Rights
Education has been helpful in providing materials that educate students
on the importance of accepting people who are different from themselves.
The Center has also given a workshop on cultural sensitivity for the
teachers at Park Vista High. I know that there is a successful
collaboration between the CHHRE and the Holocaust Studies Division of the
Department of Multicultural Education, School District of Palm Beach
County. This collaboration has enabled all schools to receive
audiovisual materials on the Civil Rights Movement and the Holocaust, and
made available a variety of speakers, programs, and other educational
materials. The CHHRE provides an invaluable service to the young people
of Palm Beach County, making a difference in the attitudes that they will
carry with them for the rest of their lives. Please establish the
endowment needed for the Center to carry on its critical
Sincerely, Brigitta McTigue, Media Specialist Park Vista High School
CHHRE is the bridge connecting the past and the present as far as
Holocaust studies are concerned. I am eternally indebted to CHHRE
for brightening my horizon and that of others. When you educate one you
Julie Mc Ginty
I am delighted to hear that the Center
will stay open to serve our community. I feel strongly that
standing together to confront human rights abuses and to never forget the
horror that happens when we don't is essential. The idea of a
permanent foundation to insure the continuation of the Center is
Sincerely, Julie McGinty-Mathews
I am a social studies teacher at Bak Middle School of the Arts in Palm Beach
years I have used the invaluable services of the Holocaust
Education Center at FAU. I have
borrowed tapes, books, and posters. I have had speakers come to my
school and talk to my students about their experiences during the
Holocaust. It would have been much harder to teach this
state-mandated curriculum without the Center’s materials and
It would be a disaster to cut the funding at FAU if
the state legislature requires Holocaust education to be taught in every
grade in the school system. We are fortunate to have the Center to
help our teachers. Don’t destroy a good source for the
teachers and the children of Palm Beach County.
Dr. Rose Gatens has worked so hard to educate teachers so that they in turn can educate the students
on the impact of intolerance. It is not just that these things happened in the past.
We must educate the students on how to deal with all kinds of intolerance in society
because the problem has not disappeared.
For the past five years I have benefited from the help and support I have received from The Center for Holocaust
and Human Rights Education. My Advanced Placement Spanish students and I
at Spanish River Community High School are very grateful for the work
that the Center provides us. Every year we are able to borrow Holocaust
related books in Spanish, as well as to receive the visit of a Holocaust
survivor who addresses our students in Spanish. Last year my students
were really fortunate to have visited the Holocaust Memorial in Miami
Beach with you and a survivor. My students were so moved by the teachings
of the Holocaust, that they all felt the need to help Darfur.
I was fortunate to have participated twice on The March of the Educators, in
2003 & 2005, organized by the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights
Education and The Department of Multicultural Education at The School
District of Palm Beach County. Going to Poland and visiting the
Concentration and Death Camps was the most meaningful history lesson I
have ever had.
Lastly I participated three times on the Center's
Summer Institutes for K-12 teachers, and honestly I can not imagine
teaching The Holocaust without the Center's support.
Sincerely, Monica H. Friedmann Ph.D.
I support the great work done by the Center. As a teacher teaching the Holocaust and Genocide in
the classroom, the work and help we get from the Center is enormous. We
can not do it alone and the lessons learned must be taught so that
“Never Again” becomes a reality.
Nancy J. Oko
Boynton Beach High School
Palm Beach County Schools
Palm Beach County schools have a resource that compares to no other. Because
of the extensive lending library, materials can be borrowed and reach
children throughout the county. Schools do not have the money to
buy class sets of books or expensive videos. Also, the
speaker’s bureau is such a valuable service to invite Holocaust
survivors to schools. The speakers they send are trained and
experienced in telling their testimony in schools. The Summer
Institute and other trainings offered throughout the year to teachers is
something that every teacher should experience and ensures that teachers
have the background knowledge and skills to teach this sensitive
It would be a tremendous loss to all if the Center were not available to schools.
Randi Schietz, Guidance Counselor
Binks Forest Elementary
Former Holocaust Studies Resource Teacher – Palm Beach County Schools
I have participated in many Holocaust studies including the week long course at FAU. I have
received materials that have enhanced my teaching lessons along with
visuals. My students have benefited greatly from all these
materials. Please continue to enrich our understanding and to
bring up speakers. We must remind ourselves that we must never
forget. Holocaust studies need to be taught. History does repeat
itself Susan Caputo Woodlands Middle School.
I have used the Holocaust studies program many times. It is essential that the
program be funded and that the doors stay open. Teachers need to be
educated to teach this and having the vital information that FAU and its
library bring to the classroom is vital. History need to be told
For the past five years, Holocaust
Survivors have been coming to our school (Murray Middle School, Stuart
FL) to speak to our 8th grade classes about their experiences as
survivors during WWII. Hundreds of student lives have been touched
and changed by the words that pour forth from the mouths of these
wonderful men and women. Their message of remembrance and
tolerance in our society of intolerance, is just what these young adults
need and desire to hear. This has all been made possible through
the work and efforts of the CHHRE. It was through my contacting
them at FAU that I was able to secure the names of our current survivor
I cannot begin to tell you what an impact their
visitations have had on our 8th grade students, the faculty and visiting
student parents. We are entering a time in society where violence,
intolerance and bullying are a normal part of our daily lives on school
campuses. Cutting the funding for CHHRE would only propagate the
current trend of intolerance in society. The world needs to have
an opportunity to heal itself and the only possible solution is to start
with our youth. The more the message of tolerance is preached, the
better our chances. I can think of no better venue than listening
to messages of forgiveness and tolerance from those whose rights have
been extremely violated.
Reading Dept. Head
Murray Middle School
Stuart, FL 34997
I just returned from a trip to Germany
I had occasion to travel to
Munich and Berlin. People were immensely friendly as I walked
around as a tourist in between my meetings.
I visited the Jewish Museum in Munich while a high school class from
Italy was receiving a guided tour. I could hear the tour guide
speaking about Jews and it was clear they/we were so 'odd' and
'unsual' to their listeners and to her. A historical
footnote, an oddity.
Coming from the US, New
York City in particular, and now in South Florida, I have always felt
like a part of my surroundings. There, although everyone was of
good will, Jews were clearly outsiders.
Berlin, I visited the Holocaust Memorial - a truly impressive square
block, and from there to the New Synagogue (built in the
I was more Jewish in Germany than I
am in the USA.
I also want to say
that unfortunately war and the TORTURE of human beings has been taken up
by my own country to our everlasting SHAME.
Ann E. Fonfa, Health Advocate and Political Activist
I will do anything I can to foster
understanding and tolerance in our Career Ed program. Presenting students
- who prepare to enter the world of work- with notions and discussions
of the Holocaust leads to their understanding of positive, proactive
tolerance, one that recognizes the innate, absolute common humanity of
all people, and their natural and civil rights under any nation's law.
Keep in touch. Bud
I would like to state my support for State (and
other) funding for the Holocaust and Human Rights Center. As a
psychologist, I think it is imperative that our society sustain those
institutions which inform and inspire its members to value and
appreciate human dignity and worth. We live in a world full of economic
and emotional uncertainty, the seeds from which fear and entitlement
have grown in our not-so-distant past. The Center affords us the
opportunity to remind ourselves, and teach our children, of the inherent
worth of every human being. If we are to be sure not to repeat past
grievous errors, and if we are to hope for a future of peace and mutual
support, institutions such as this must be supported by all of us.
Ray Armstrong, Ph.D.
, Miami, FL