Schools in Cincinnati and Kentucky Receive First IWitness Workshops

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 5:00pm

USC Shoah Foundation Regional Consultant Rob Hadley traveled to Cincinnati and Kentucky to lead IWitness workshops with teachers and students. It was the first time either school had been introduced to IWitness and both were deeply moved by the experience.

In Cincinnati, Hadley visited DePaul Cristo Rey High School, a Catholic school, and led a group of 40 students in a demonstration of IWitness followed by the Bystander Effect activity.

Teacher Julie Murray thanked Hadley for the presentation and added that her students were inspired by what they learned in IWitness.

"The group that I took back to class wanted to keep talking about the bystander effect, and were generating all kinds of ideas of how to be an upstander,” Murray said. “It was very empowering as a teacher to see them really grasp a concept and apply it to their own lives.”

At Grant County High School in Dry Ridge, Ken., Hadley led 22 teachers in an extended IWitness workshop. The program included an introduction to IWitness and the use of testimony in the classroom, including three different strategies for integrating testimony into the classroom, "Analyzing textual evidence" and "Compare and Contrast" worksheets. Teachers also completed the 1936 Olympics: Race, Politics and Civil Rights activity. At the end of the day, Hadley introduced them to IWitness’s video editing software and they began planning for testimony integration into their curriculum. 

Hadley said the Kentucky teachers were especially excited and honored that USC Shoah Foundation would come to a small town like Dry Ridge to lead a workshop on IWitness. It showed them how committed the Institute is to sharing this resource with educators everywhere.

Hadley could relate to them personally. He told them that he also grew up in a small town in Oregon but learned about the Holocaust through the testimony of a liberator named Al Haener.

“I shared that story with the teachers to highlight that we all come from different places, but testimony connects us to even what might seem like distant events like the Holocaust.,” Hadley said.

The teacher who organized the training, Kamren Colson, told the group that he had experienced bullied and discrimination growing up in Dry Ridge. But instead of leaving his hometown, he decided to stay in order to make a difference.

“He had every reason to leave his hometown, but instead started a successful business there and brought us to his hometown to share this program to help prevent this moving forward,” Hadley said. “Kamren decided indeed, it does begin with him.”