Cleveland Heights High School and the Heights Schools Foundation will host a community event on Sunday, April 16, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at the High School that will commemorate 50 consecutive years of Holocaust-themed education at Heights High and spotlight the need for ongoing instruction of the curriculum, given the rise in extremism, hatred, antisemitism, and “otherness” in today’s society.
The initial 1973 class, Literature of the Holocaust, was an English course created by Dr. Leatrice Rabinsky, a pioneer in Holocaust education, making Heights High one of the first public schools in the nation to teach teens about the Holocaust. Upon Dr. Rabinsky’s retirement, the social studies department took over the course and transitioned the curriculum into a class entitled Lessons of the Holocaust. That course remains today. Instruction throughout the years has been enriched by meaningful interactions with Holocaust Survivors and class trips to Holocaust sites overseas and museums in U.S. cities. More than 2,500 students have taken the class since its inception.
The focus of the commemorative event is to reinforce the critical importance of universal teaching and learning of lessons from the Holocaust. Current Lessons of the Holocaust teacher Mark Sack, a 1976 Heights graduate and student in one of the initial classes stresses, “As we are currently witnessing a significant increase in widespread hate speech, antisemitism, and violence targeting a wide range of groups of people, we need to nurture compassion and acceptance. Additionally, we need to teach our youth to recognize the signs of extremism and the risks of indifference and inaction to these dangers.”
A panel of experts, including three Cleveland Heights High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame members, will address the disturbing social issues facing us today. Panelists include:
These speakers are deeply motivated by the critical societal task at hand:
The discussion will be moderated by Ken Myers ’76, a civil rights lawyer and former journalist, who participated in the first overseas Journey of Conscience trip associated with the curriculum.