Institute News

A Message from Andra Coulter

I teach at an elementary school for boys with behavioral and emotional difficulties that impede their ability to be successful. When we began our Holocaust unit in early April, it became immediately apparent that this historical event struck a chord with my class. They were shocked and disgusted by the stories of intolerance and inequality, but they were also encouraged and uplifted by stories of heroes and acts of courage.

When I heard about USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive, I jumped at the opportunity to use it. Seeing the locations of history and hearing eyewitness testimony made everything they studied real.

Most poignant for my class was recognizing Paula Lebovics as the child survivor they had seen in photographs. My students could not believe that someone they “knew" had survived and was speaking live that day. We subsequently watched all of Paula's testimony through IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s award-winning educational website with over 1,600 testimonies from the Archive that engages students through multimedia-learning activities.

Paula became a symbol of change for our class. The students were so passionate about what they learned, they shared their lessons at our school assembly: "Our class has learned from Paula that silence is not an option. That means we will never be silent if we see someone being put down, bullied or intolerant of someone else—and we think you should not be silent too."

I am truly thankful for USC Shoah Foundation and the incredible learning journey they have taken my students on. Your support of USC Shoah Foundation has helped my boys find their voices.

Today, I ask for your continued support in making a gift that will grow programs like IWitness that teach tolerance, compassion and most importantly, that silence is not an option.

 

                                                                                                                                                              By Andra Coulter

                                                                                                                                                Special Education Teacher

                                                                                                                                                                Alberta, Canada

 

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