Thousands of Georgia Students Participate in Willesden Lane Education Event

Tue, 03/22/2022 - 4:34pm

More than 18,000 students and 250 teachers from school districts across Georgia last week experienced famed pianist Mona Golabek's livestreamed performance adapted from her acclaimed book, The Children of Willesden Lane.

Produced in an exciting new format by Discovery Education in partnership with USC Shoah Foundation, the special theatrical and musical Willesden READS event gave students and educators the opportunity to interact with Mona as she brought to life the inspiring story of her mother and Holocaust survivor, Lisa Jura. 

Lisa was a young Austrian Jew who in 1938 escaped on the Kindertransport from Vienna to London, where she found safety and refuge at a hostel on Willesden Lane. The story describes how Lisa never lost hope and went on to achieve her dream of becoming a concert pianist.

Mary Jane Dobbin Mickey, a 7th grade social studies teacher at the DeRenne Middle School in Savannah, described how Mona’s performance resonated with her students. 

“My students really enjoyed it,” she said. “It gave them an opportunity to ask questions and have deeper discussions on the topic.” 

A Clayton County, GA educator was similarly impressed. 

“My students so enjoyed this performance! I have never seen anything like this before. I was moved with such profound emotions. It was as though I could visualize the events as she unfolded the untold story of Lisa's life.” 

The performance event was preceded by a series of professional development webinars, provided by Echoes & Reflections, for teachers to deepen understanding of the historical context of the story and to explore the range of The Willesden Project companion resources found in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation's educational website, into their teaching.

Local program supporters included Anti-Defamation League Southeast, Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Public Schools, Fulton County Public Schools, and Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools.

The next Willesden READS event is in New England, supported locally by the Campaign for Catholic Schools, the Archdiocese of Boston, Diocese of Bridgeport, Diocese of Fall River, Diocese of Manchester and Diocese of Providence. 

Educators can register here for the performance's release on March 29th at 1pm ET. The performance will be available to schools for one month following its premiere.

USC Shoah Foundation