IHS teacher attends national Holocaust seminar

Published 5:32 pm Thursday, July 19, 2018

Isabella teacher Rachel Hartsell will have some new material for her students as part of her curriculum this school year after attending a prestigious Holocaust education seminar June 24-28.

She was one of 29 educators selected to attend the annual Summer Institute for Holocaust Educators hosted by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.

Hartsell spent five days in New York City taking part in the seminar. Of the 29 educators involved, 12 states were represented as well as the countries of Croatia and Poland.

“It offered a good opportunity to collaborate,” Hartsell said.

According to Hartsell, “intense” was the best word to describe the content-heavy academic seminar.

“It challenged me to think about concepts that I had never considered,” Hartsell said. “It’s definitely going to change the way in how I do things [in her classroom].”

Heading into the seminar, Hartsell had an idea that it was going to be a mentally demanding five days but was still surprised by the thought-provoking exercises that she encountered once she got into it.

“There’s a difference in big ‘I’ intense and little ‘i’ intense,” Hartsell said.

Although all of the material was educational based, it also dealt with emotional topics that surrounded the events of the Holocaust.

One of the more memorable moments for Hartsell was when she got the chance to meet Holocaust survivor Roman Kent.

During a conversation with Kent, Hartsell asked what advice he had for her to bring back to the students at Isabella.

Kent’s advice to Hartsell was to teach her students equality.

“That resonates a lot with what goes on in the world today,” Hartsell said.

According to Hartsell, she has attended other educational seminars, but this summer’s will be one that she will never forget.

“It was a wonderful educational experience,” Hartsell said.