MHS Teacher, Students Featured in Video

MHS Teacher, Students Featured in Video
Posted on 12/06/2022

Over the past five years Montclair High School has partnered with Kean University’s Holocaust Resource Center (HRC). Through this partnership, hundreds of Montclair students have participated and received college credits for taking the Holocaust, Genocide and Modern Humanity class at MHS. In celebration of the HRC and Kean’s Holocaust Research Foundation’s 40th anniversary, MHS teacher Shana Stein and her students were featured in a special commemorative video that was played during the Murray Pantirer Memorial Scholar Lecture, named for the late Holocaust survivor and HRC founder.

students in video

The Holocaust, Genocide, and Modern Humanity course is a semester-long elective offered through the social studies department at MHS in partnership with Kean University’s Holocaust Resource Center. This year there are six sections with around 135 students taking the course. The course is offered at all levels however students can opt to take the course for three undergraduate college credits through Kean. Students receive a partially subsidized tuition rate for the course and every year, several MHS students receive scholarships to get the three credits for free.

The units of study in the course include Identity and Society, Genocide in Historical Context, the Holocaust, Case Studies in Genocide, Justice and Legacy, Modern Humanity, Human Rights and Genocide Prevention. In addition to the coursework, students hear from several speakers including survivors of genocides as well as take a field trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Students also attend a lecture at Kean every year. The course combines survivor testimonies and scholarly texts on the Holocaust and other genocides with historical artifacts, memoirs, and film.

teacher in video

“Teaching this course and working with MHS students as they engage in this difficult material is uplifting and encouraging,” said Stein who is also a member of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. “My students are intellectually curious, social justice-minded, and interested in the world and making it a better place. They are sharp-minded, analytical, and willing to engage in even the most challenging materials. When it comes down to it, the most powerful tool in genocide prevention is educating students against any ‘us’ and ‘them’ beliefs and against all hatreds and prejudice.”

“Our partnership with Kean University’s Diversity Council, and the Holocaust Resource Center by extension, figures prominently in our efforts to teach this important history, meet our state’s mandate around Holocaust/genocide education, and combat antisemitism in our schools at every turn. This is needed perhaps now more than ever,” said Marcos Vargas, District Director of K-12 Humanities.

“It is a great honor for the Montclair school district to be featured in this year’s video,” added MHS Principal Jeffrey Freeman. “We look forward to a continued partnership for years to come.”

The Holocaust Resource Center is a joint initiative between Kean University and the Holocaust Resource Foundation, a private philanthropic organization founded by Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives in New Jersey. HRC programs and resources align with the New Jersey State mandate on Holocaust Education.

In addition to students, several cohorts of Montclair educators have participated in trainings and graduate courses offered by the HRC.

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