St. Paul's sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students recently traveled to the Coterie Theatre to see The White Rose. This performance served as the culmination of a Holocaust literature unit and the anniversary of the closing of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Throughout the past few weeks, students have also been analyzing and discussing the negative impacts of anti-semitic attacks across the US.
The White Rose and Coterie Interactive Workshop
The Coterie describes the White Rose as a "gripping and intriguing play [that] tells the true story of Sophie Scholl, a German college student who led an act of public resistance to the Nazis during the Second World War. The play contains little-known facts about Sophie, her brother Hans, and the civil disobedience of the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany. Scholl’s moral strength is tested while being interrogated for her crimes, leading her to question whether to save her own life or continue her righteous crusade." Following the entire middle school's trip to see the play, 6th grade students participated in the Coterie's interactive workshop to discuss the ripple effects of Scholl's actions and how our own actions can positively and negatively impact our community.
This cultural arts experience enhanced recent classroom discussions and reinforced the recent chapel lesson on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each grade has read a Holocaust specific book, including:
- Sixth grade - The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leo Leyson
- Seventh grade - The Diary of Anne Frank
- Eighth grade - Night by Elie Wiesel.
Throughout the literature unit, students were also researching and discussing connected current events. The spree of international anti-semitic attacks in late 2019 were particularly relevant and helped emphasize the importance of the issues and themes in each of the novels.
We know studying these novels and participating in related cultural arts experiences allow our students to deepen their historical knowledge. At the same time, these important discussions help them learn and develop skills to become ethical leaders and compassionate, engaged citizens.