A recent visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has prompted area students to put their experience into song, reminding others to “think about what you saw.”

Last month, 52 students from Rockwood Area High School visited the museum in Washington, D.C. as part of the Holocaust Museum Project administered by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. For many, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. For others, it was the first time they had visited the museum or had seen the nation’s capital. As the students examined the exhibits, they saw, touched and even smelled remnants of the Holocaust, gaining new perspectives on the tragedy, its victims and its survivors.

The Rockwood students were so moved by the experience that they worked with their teacher, Jay Best, to write and record a song that reminds students to “think about what you saw” when you witness hatred. Click here to visit Mr. Best’s school web page, then click on the link that says, “Visit to the U.S. Holocaust Museum.” The students also wrote personal and descriptive essays that discussed the impact that the visit had on them. This marked the first time that students who have participated in the Holocaust Museum Project had put their experience to music.

The students were able to visit the museum thanks to the Holocaust Museum Project. The project, launched by the late Abe Beerman in 2005, provides funding to Somerset, Cambria and Bedford school districts so that students can visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Students are asked to submit reflective essays about their experience, which are reviewed and then archived at Beth Shalom Temple in Johnstown. Since 2005, thousands of area students have benefitted from this initiative.

This year alone, more than 850 students from nearly a dozen area school districts were scheduled to visit the museum. The trips typically coincide with classroom studies on the Holocaust. The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies administers the Beerman Holocaust Museum Fund and works closely with school districts on museum visit logistics.

For more information on the project, contact Anne McGrath at (814) 536-7741.

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 12:40 PM by Angie Berzonski