SALEMBURG — With a goal to see a part of human rights history up close, a group of Lakewood High School students are raising funds to visit Germany and The Netherlands.
Through Education First tours, the LHS Travel Club will study human rights and The Holocaust during an international youth leadership summit. The theme of the 11-day event is “Exploring Human Rights.” Chelsie Conn, Travel Club representative and Lakewood educator, is looking forward to trip along with other students.
“I think it’s important because I think the biggest barriers between cultures is the misunderstands of other places,” Conn said. “So I think it’s important for them to see other places and being able to experience those culture barriers and to gain human understand.”
One of the upcoming efforts collect funds include a community yard sale, scheduled for 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Shreeji Self Storage Lot, 607 Highway 24 in Roseboro, across from Dollar General. Individuals, families or organizations can have a pot for $10 or two for $15. Participants can keep all sales from the event.
Scheduled to speak in The Hague, International City of Peace and Justice is Pulitzer Prize Winners Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. They will be joined by Arun Gandhi and Ndaba Mandela, the grandsons of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, respectively.
“I also think that we’re living in a more globalized society and we need we need to be comfortable with the idea of working across those borders,” Conn said in regards to the students learning the speakers and other activities.
In addition to the speakers at The Hague, the students will have the opportunity to visit locations such as Munich, Nuremberg, Bonn, Cologne and Amsterdam. One of the features of the tour is the Anne Frank House, where the young Anne and her family hid from Nazi occupiers, before they were found in 1944. Her diary has been published in many languages.
“We’ve been studying the graphic novel of Anne Frank to give them more background,” Conn said. “It includes excerpts from her diary, but it also gives more of a historical context from the World War I and pre-World War II era.
“I think that will give the house more meaning if they understand what happened there,” Conn said.
Prior to the trip, scheduled to begin June 18, Holocaust survivor Abe Piasek will visit Lakewood for a presentation.
“What’s interesting is that he was liberated from the concentration camp that we are traveling to,” Conn said.
“With Mr. Piasek, I think that would be a great opportunity for them to hear a survivor because those chances are quickly diminishing. I think hearing a historian and actually being there, put’s it into perspective of how terrible The Holocaust really was. It’s not a made up story. That really happened to real people and it happened to this person standing right in front of you.”
Invitations were sent to high achieving individuals interesting traveling overseas. Conn said she has traveled to more than 24 countries. It’s something she encourages students to do as well.
Fundraising efforts for the upcoming summer trip began in 2014. So far, the Travel Club collected more than $5,000. Along with fundraising, the group has applied for some grant. A GoFundMe page was established for the trip, www.gofundme.com/363a24dg. According to the page, the goal is to reach $6,000. Some of the other events include a night at the sweetFrog Yogurt shop from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 at 935 Sunset Ave. Clinton.
For more information about the upcoming fundraising events, donation opportunity or additional information, contact Conn at 814-758-4334.
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