|SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS FORMALLY MEET AT RECEPTION HELD AT HECHT’S HOME|
MONTREAL, JUNE 4 , 2013- Eight local teachers who won scholarships for a three week experience as part of the Yad Vashem International Seminar for Educators, formally met each other for the first time. This occurred at a reception on May 29 at the home of Riva and Thomas O. Hecht, whose scholarship program for educators sponsored four of the teachers who will be going to Israel this summer.
Two of the recipients are from the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), one from the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), two from the Commission scolaire de Montreal (CSDM), one from the Riverside School Board (RSB) and another from a French CEGEP in Trois-Rivieres, and from College Jean-Eudes, a French language private school in Montreal.
Vincent Gagnon, from Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount and Georgia Gotsis, from Merton Elementary School in Côte Saint-Luc (both EMSB) will be joined this summer at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel by Laurence Assouline from Beechwood Elementary School (Lester B. Pearson School Board) and Gina Lavine, from Collège Laflèche in Trois-Rivières. The other teachers who will be participating in the seminar are Louis Laroche from École Lanaudiere (CSDM), Isabelle Ruest from École Secondaire La Voie (CSDM), Carmen Woolgar from Heritage High School (RSB), and Marc St. Louis from Collége Jean-Eudes.
Ms. Gotsis, a Cycle 3 English teacher at Merton School, was recognized at the April 24 EMSB Council of Commissioners meeting while Mr. and Mrs. Hecht visited Vincent Massey on April 30 to congratulate Mr. Gagnon during one of his French classes.
The teachers will take part in a professional development program under the direction of the Faculty of the Yad Vashem Seminars for Educators from Abroad, International School for Holocaust Studies. The goal of the program is to provide professional development activities to teachers for teaching about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to students in the youth Sector. Each recipient will be asked to create at least one teaching unit or module developed within the context learned. This is the eighth year for the program, with 25 teachers having gone through it with full scholarships.
Also present at the reception were scholarship sponsors Dana and Bill Bell; Yaron Ashkenazi, the executive director of the Canadian Friends of Yad Vashem; Alice Herscovitch, executve director of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre; Vincent Massey Collegiate teacher Julie Etheridge, who participated in the Yad Vashem seminar last year; and former seminar participant Anne Edgar. Stuart Nulman from the EMSB and Thomas Rhymes from the LBPSB brought greetings from their respective school boards.
Mr. Ashkenazi congratulated all of the educators who were selected as scholarship recipients to participate at the three-week seminar at Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem that attracts over a million visitors each year, and its international school for Holocaust studies attracts 300,000 educators annually. He also outlined what the three-week seminar will entail and that they will also have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the people, culture and every day life of Israel. “This is an amazing initiative, because we at Yad Vahsem believe in the cause and mission of education. This will be a time-of-your-life experience,” he said.
Ms. Etheridge -- an art teacher whose Secondary III class recently won a video contest for their stop-motion animation production about the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg and how his message is still relevant and significant today -- and Ms. Edgar shared their experiences from last year’s seminar and how they adapted to life in Israel during their stay. They also addressed concerns about travelling to Israel and how they applied what they learned at Yad Vashem to their classroom curriculum after they returned.
Michael J. Cohen