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Honoring Unsung Heroes

Since April is Genocide Awareness Month, IHA students chose to honor these unsung heroes by researching a person who, at great personal risk to themselves, tried to help victims of genocide find comfort and safety. The students then wrote a research paper and created a poster that depicted heroic actions and traits of their unsung hero. These posters are on display in the lobby of IHA, as well as in the Township of Washington public library. Some of the unsung heroes they highlighted include St. Maximilian Kolbe, who took another man's place in the death chamber at Auschwitz, and actor and Holocaust survivor Curt Lowens, who helped save over 100 Jewish children and rescued two downed American airmen during World War II.
On April 18, students also presented their work at the Township of Washington library on the people they chose to honor. Students showcased the bravery of their unsung hero and how it stands as a testament to our shared humanity, our capacity for compassion, and all the goodness we are capable of in the face of profound evil. Nearly 100 people attended the presentation on April 18 which was also filmed by a local news program!
Additionally, students worked on a separate assignment for a competition hosted by The U.S. Committee for Holodomor Genocide Awareness. The objective of the competition was to increase knowledge about the Holodomor genocide perpetrated against the Ukrainian people between 1932-1933 by Joseph Stalin. IHA's Rose Martin '24 won first place in the 11-12 grade category of the competition and received a prize of $500. Congratulations Rose! 
Each of these incredible projects at the school were under the direction of Dr. Sue Kenney, IHA social studies teacher. Dr. Kenney has been awarded several fellowships, including a Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes ARTEFFECT Ambassador Fellowship in 2023 and an Alfred B. Lerner Fellowship from the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous in 2020. She has written several articles on this topic, which can be accessed below:
According to Dr. Kenney, "The primary goal of these projects was to activate both critical and creative thinking in students so that they would feel a deep connection to the people who suffered under genocide and to those who were exemplary in standing up to oppression. Through these projects, students embraced the idea that one person truly can make a difference, and that sometimes the best part of our humanity shines brightly in the face of darkness and evil.”