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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Rose Gatens

  561-297-2929, rgatens@fau.edu or
Lisa Freed
561-297-3022, lfreed@fau.edu


FAU’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education Leads Research Trip to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum


BOCA RATON, FL (June 2, 2010) Nine teachers from St. Lucie County schools, lead by Dr. Rose Gatens, director of the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education at Florida Atlantic University, traveled to Washington D.C. over their spring break to conduct research on teaching about the Holocaust, genocides and human rights.

Funding for the trip was provided by the Center and the St. Lucie County School District with generous funding from the New York City-based foundation, Memorial Library and Art Collection of the Second World War.  Attendees included Dr. Rose Gatens, Dennis Dawson, Erin Bator, Debra Ruffolo, Tim Norfleet, Anthony Cusa, Sharon Ortiz, Arin Terwilliger, Celestine Dorsey and Todd Hibbard.

Dennis Dawson, a geography and history teacher with the Marine and Oceanographic Academy program, noted the high level of professionalism and collegiality demonstrated throughout the preparations and the trip.  “Everyone was focused on understanding the human dimension of the Holocaust,” said Dawson.  “We were all learning from the Museum and from each other.”

Accompanying the teachers was Peter Feigl, a Palm City resident who is also a Holocaust survivor. Feigl has dedicated his life to sharing with students and educators his experiences as a boy living through the Holocaust and losing his family.  His insight and commentary proved critical to the teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust on an individual scale.  All of the teachers expressed their gratitude for his willingness to openly talk about the horrors of his childhood and living beyond the tragedy. 

The study group had been working on their understanding of the Holocaust during working sessions that led up to the three days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.  They have all returned with a more profound understanding of both the Holocaust and more recent genocides. 

“The seminar was invaluable for me because it allowed me to experience the complexity of the Holocaust and provided many ideas on how this and other genocides can be taught to our students,” said Celestine Dorsey, a history teacher from Westwood High School in Fort Pierce.  “Dr. Gatens was an exceptional facilitator providing clarification and insight on many questions that arose as we toured the museum.”

The teachers who participated are now preparing lessons, resources and student activities to teach about the Holocaust and genocide.  These lessons will be shared with other teachers throughout the St. Lucie County School District.  “We know that we can’t say ‘never again’ because we continue to be faced with genocide,” said Dawson.  “Our goal is to help our students understand how genocide grows out of many seemingly insignificant actions and behaviors.  Only by being vigilant and aware of our own actions can we hope to end this.”

- FAU-

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit www.fau.edu .

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