Volunteer Speaker Michael Sharp and Sandbach High School
In 2013, Sandbach High School in Cheshire approached the HSFA for assistance in organising a Never Again day for their younger students. The school already marks Holocaust Memorial Day and the Holocaust forms an integral part of their history curriculum with groups of students visiting Auschwitz each year.
HSFA volunteer Michael Sharp met with a group of the staff to discuss their ideas for the day and how it could be structured. Key throughout was that it was to be cross-curricular and student led. Michael shared material with the school to help the students to generate ideas as to what they would like to do, and the school organised a series of voluntary lunchtime sessions at which pupils could watch films about the Holocaust.
The Never Again day took place on 19th June 2014, coordinated by a group of four teachers but with support from other specialist staff. The day commenced with Michael talking about the history of the Holocaust, the experiences of various survivors and why the Holocaust is still relevant to us today.
The students then split up into self-led groups to prepare their responses over the next two and a half hours - many chose to work through lunchtime - ready for a presentation to parents, governors and the local mayor in the afternoon. They produced an impressive range of artwork and PowerPoint presentations which were exhibited in the school hall prior to a performance of drama, dance, music and poetry
To quote the programme for the afternoon:
"Never Again? Today's showcase reflects the work of the Gifted and Talented Art, Music, Drama, Dance, English, RS and History Students from years 8 and 9. Michael Sharp, a speaker from the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association, delivered a powerful presentation this morning as a stimulus for the pupils' work. Previously Year 10 pupils, who have facilitated groups today, were taught about the Holocaust by the Year 12 Psychology Students".
The use of the question mark in the title "Never Again?" was a deliberate choice by the school, with many of the students choosing to make statements about genocides since the Holocaust, as well as about the Holocaust itself - asking whether we have learnt anything from the horrors of the past.
Our grateful thanks to Michael for representing the Association at this, and other events.