With Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week here this January 25-29, 2021, Texans Can Academies is committed to ensuring that students recognize and reflect on the gravity of this time in history and that they be given the opportunity to discuss their personal experiences with intolerance from others.
Leading Texans Can Academies’ Holocaust curriculum is experienced educator Sara Rivera, who heard the call for human rights education from Texans Can Academies’ leadership and recognized the talent in their social studies teachers. “We have excellent social studies teachers,” Rivera said. She was amazed at the commitment each displayed as they helped students appreciate the role of upstanders, those who intervene in the face of evil at great risk to themselves. “Many of the resources Texans Can Academies teachers use,” she said, “come from the wealth available through the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.”
A major supporter of Texans Can Academies’ recent approach to Holocaust education is philanthropist and advocate Nate Levine. Along with his wife, Ann, Levine has been honored by the museum through its Ann and Nate Levine Family Center for Education for their dedication to advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference, as well as their strong commitment to education.
Since 2018, Levine has acted as docent to the students of Texans Can Academies and has helped aid the organization’s teachers in all five of its major communities to attend online training to strengthen their Holocaust curriculum. Scholarships have also been granted to cover bus and train fees for Texans Can Academies students to tour the museum.
Rivera recalled how one of the special projects created by two Texans Can Academies students in the style of an Anne Frank diary remains a personal treasure of Levine, who displayed it at the opening of the museum’s new building. Texans Can Academies is grateful to Levine for the deep, personal interest he has taken in the education of Texans Can Academies students.
Rivera said she’s learned a great deal since she assumed charge of the school’s Holocaust curriculum. “A lot of our students are immigrants,” she said, “who appreciate both the push and pull factors that lead people to migrate from one place to another. The stories and experiences many Texans Can Academies students have,” she noted, “prepare them to connect well with the themes the museum endeavors to communicate.” In the future, Rivera hopes to expand the curriculum beyond social studies to include readings that might be guided by Texans Can Academies’ English department.
The Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week was established last year to bring awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides to Texas students, educators, and the general public by ensuring availability of resources, and in doing so imbue in individuals a sense of responsibility to prevent future atrocities and uphold human value.