BIDWELL — River Valley High School sophomores in Brea McClung’s American History Class recently took part in the Butterfly Project to memorialize the names of children who lost their lives during the Holocaust in the era of World War II.
According to information provided by McClung, “The Butterfly Project is a call to action through education, the arts and memorial making. it uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate about the dangers of hatred and bigotry and cultivates empathy and social responsibility. Participants paint ceramic butterflies that are permanently displayed as symbols of resilience and hope, with the goal of creating 1.5 million butterflies around the world — one for each child who perished in the Holocaust, and honoring the survivors.”
“The students in American History are each paired with a child Holocaust victim,” said McClung. “They are given a card with their child’s information. They paint their butterfly to honor the memory of that child. We will be creating a permanent memorial in the history hallway as a reminder of the Holocaust. The students are also reading the book ‘Night’ (by Elie Wiesel) and watching ‘Schindler’s List’ in their English classes to coincide with our history project… We’ll add more butterflies to the wall each year.”
McClung said she had heard about the project from a fellow teacher.
“It makes a more personal connection with a Holocaust victim,” said McClung. “Of the six million who died in the Holocaust, 1.5 million of them were children… I think it’s important for our students to remember the past so we can make the future a better place. I think that by doing a project like this it helps them to have empathy for others and makes them appreciate being a citizen of this country and safety. We learn about these thinks so we don’t redo the things of the past.”
McClung said it was not uncommon for students to receive biographical information of children who died in the Nazi Death Camps like Auschwitz seeking to exterminate Jews.
The students for the past two weeks have been studying World War II propaganda, battles and effects of the conflict.
McClung noted that students in Germany were also a part of the Butterfly Project and not just American students.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342. © 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.