Education specialist teaches Chaney class about Holocaust

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A Youngstown City Schools student teacher brought an interactive experience in Holocaust education into the classroom at Chaney High School.

Samantha Mickey, a Youngstown State University senior and student teacher, said she was opening students up to the world by bringing in Jesse McClain, Holocaust education specialist from the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, on Monday afternoon.

McClain has taught more than 4,000 students about the Holocaust.

“I just wanted to help bring in as many experiences as possible,” Mickey said.

Students are studying ethnicities in teacher Angela Dooley’s English Language Arts class, and read “Night,” Elie Wiesel’s book about his life as a teenager in a Nazi concentration camp.

That’s not all the class learned, though.

Dooley said students took time to learn about Chinese internment camps, slavery in several countries and the national conversation government leaders had about repeating internment camps after Sept. 11.

McClain’s talk to the students centered upon episodes of genocide now happening worldwide.

Steven Santiago Vega, 17, said he learned about the struggle for certain ethic groups.

“I even cried during some videos Mrs. Mickey showed us,” he said. “Most people are ignorant to these ongoings of genocide, and this unit really opened my eyes to the possibility of something like that happening.”

Dooley said McClain’s visit brings real life to the classroom and a face to discuss the experience.

“We are making connections and keeping our own experiences through that,” she said. “We just thought, ‘Let’s explore a little since we are interested,’ and we are doing this through literature. This is upper-level thinking and learning.”

Mickey, Dooley said, introduced a type of learning that piqued students’ interests in such a significant way that they might not have had otherwise.

The mission of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is to sustain and enrich the quality of life for the Jewish people regionally, in Israel and worldwide.

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