A poetic tribute to a Holocaust survivor

A poetic tribute to a Holocaust survivor photo
Students in Kayleen Everitt’s eighth-grade English classes took a unique route in using their intellectual skills to examine and understand world history: before welcoming Werner Reich, a Holocaust survivor, as a guest speaker, they honored him with a poetic tribute of their own inspiring thoughts.

After an introduction by student Kyle Johnson, who thanked Reich for sharing his firsthand account of the events of the Nazi Germany genocide, student Kasumi Layne-Stasik read German theologian Martin Niemöller’s well-known poem “First they came…” and explained that the students rephrased it in their own writings to correspond with issues of today including among other topics gun violence, conservation and equality between men and women in hopes of inspiring change.

Student Sofia Ulinski then introduced Ella Barrett, Jordyn Capone, Kate Carlson, Zoe Intardanado, Andrew Patterson and Abigail Rolfe who read their own poems before Reich shared his compelling story of survival and message of tolerance and acceptance.

“They did an incredible job and were courageous and brave for sharing their creative work in front of the entire grade,” Everitt said. “I am most proud of their creativity, civic awareness and leadership.”