June 13, 2024
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June 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Names, Not Numbers©’ Premiers at WDS

The Westchester Day School eighth graders did a phenomenal job at the “Names, Not Numbers©” premiere on May 9. The program, developed by Tova Fish-Rosenberg and facilitated at WDS by Mrs. Jill Rivel, enables eighth graders to engage in a unique multidisciplinary learning experience that combines research, video production and one-on-one interviews to preserve history in an original documentary film. Throughout the project, students work with professional journalists, Holocaust scholars and filmmakers, and they have the unique (and fleeting) opportunity to learn about the Holocaust directly from those who experienced it.

Students participated in several sessions to gain an understanding of the Holocaust timeline; the roles of conspirators, upstanders and bystanders; the nature of spiritual and physical resistance; and contemporary manifestations of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. The students next met with New York Times journalist Joseph Berge to learn interviewing techniques, which included how to craft appropriate questions that can categorize a survivor’s experience into before, during and after the war.

In small groups, students were matched with one specific Holocaust survivor, and they spent weeks researching their particular story to prepare for a face-to-face interview. Learning professional video and editing techniques from a videographer, students enjoyed the more technical elements of producing a documentary.

This unforgettable film is a reflection of the deep and transformational learning in which eighth graders have engaged for many months at Westchester Day School.

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