Grant will educate South Portland students about Holocaust

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A high school teacher has been awarded a Holocaust Educator Professional Development grant that will help bring history to life for her students. 

History teacher Sarah Bailey will split a $500 grant from the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine with Gary Carter, a literacy teacher in Richmond schools. The grant, funded by Augusta neurosurgeon Julius Ciembroniewicz, is awarded to outstanding Maine teachers committed to Holocaust and human rights education. 

Bailey, who has been at South Portland High School for nine years and teaches ninth- and 11th-grade history, will be honored at the center’s 29th annual meeting Sunday, June 11, at the Woodlands Club in Falmouth.

She applied for the grant to bring a local Holocaust survivor to talk to her 11th-graders this March and, time permitting, to her 9th-grade students as well. She would also like to invite other students from the school. 

“I want them to have the opportunity to have an invaluable experience,” Bailey said. “It is a lost history because people who went through this experience … we are losing them.”

She said she expects the experience to be humbling for her and her students.

She applied for the grant so her students can experience a “humanist element to history.” Bailey said she talks to them about numbers, statistics and facts, but having a Holocaust survivor will help students “to see it is real and there are reasons why we recognize and study the Holocaust.”

It will also give her students the opportunity to ask questions. 
Bailey previously attended a conference at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in Augusta, where she learned about the grant.

She said learning about the history of the Holocaust teaches her students tolerance, breaks down barriers, brings people together and celebrates diversity.

“We all have something to offer in our own uniqueness,” Bailey said. 

  Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

South Portland High School history teacher Sarah Bailey received a grant from the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.