Christa McAuliffe Middle School – Holocaust Memorial Garden

Christa McAuliffe Middle School – Holocaust Memorial Garden

Planting at the Christa McAuliffe Middle School, Palm Beach County, Fl

Eighth-grade students in Palm Beach County Schools study the core text of The Diary of Anne Frank. Students learn about the Holocaust and how this tragedy still resonates with the world today. The creation of the Christa McAuliffe Middle School (CMMS) Holocaust Memorial Garden is a reminder to all students and visitors to the campus that we must not be indifferent in the face of tyranny or oppression. The theme for their garden was indifference and at the blooming ceremony the children spoke about indifference and how important it is for us to not turn away from current day oppression. The following quote by Ellie Wiesel from his book, Perils of Indifference, set the tone for the Holocaust Memorial Garden.

“Of course, indifference can be tempting. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person’s pain or loss of hope. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor is not important. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible pain is of no interest. Indifference makes other people into something less human.”

The coordinator of the project at CMMS was Jacqui Feldman. While studying the Holocaust with her 8th graders, she felt compelled to research her Uncle Leibel, who was a survivor of Auschwitz. In searching the family name on the internet, she ran across David Feldman, a co-founder of the Daffodil Project and a cousin of hers, and that’s how the idea for the garden at her school came about.

Below is a video from the blooming ceremony at CMMS.

JOURNEY TO THE GARDEN Choosing the perfect spot for the garden was easy. With a sprawling outdoor campus, the eighth grade teachers chose a spot right outside the classrooms so that the students could see the progress each day. The side of the concrete portable classroom was the ideal blank slate for the mural.

Emily Butler, Christian Alvarez and Alex Cruz are seen staining the wooden planter box built by Mr. Brian Nichols, a computer teacher at CMMS.Project leader, Jacqui Feldman, Christian Alvarez, Principal Silverman, Emily Butler, Aaliya Geneus and Alex Cruz prepare the flower bed, made by Mr. Nichols, by pouring potting soil and spreading it with a shovel before planting daffodil bulbs. Student artist, Alyssa Natal, paints the mural with the phrase “Never Forgotten” to bring attention to the Holocaust Memorial Garden.

After helping to plant the bulbs, Julia Gallo and Rilee Prout blow the daffodil bulb peelings into the air. Below is a picture of the blooming ceremony taking place at CMMS.