Reading to Remember

Reading to Remember

Ward Melville High School tenth-grade English classes and students enrolled in the Holocaust elective course participated in a daylong event called “All Night in a Day” that focused on Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” an autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.

The students began the day by visually understanding how individuals were transported to concentration camps. They packed into a small square in the front of the auditorium – the same size as the cattle cars that were used – and then one by one took a seat as the individuals they represented perished during the trip.

Throughout the remainder of the morning, the students listened as several teachers and administrators read portions of the book aloud and paused several times to participate in workshops and activities. These included analyzing passages, listening and reacting to music mentioned in the book, viewing an interview with Wiesel and artistically creating reactions to the messages of the written piece. The students also helped to create the word “LOVE” on large poster boards using candles, one for each individual who was named to have lost their lives in the book.

“We hope that by reading this story and discussing the topic through programs such as this that we are giving a voice for those like Elie Wiesel; something we found especially important as he passed away last summer,” said Tammy Catalfamo, Ward Melville English teacher and one of the program’s coordinators. “My goal is that no student will go through our school’s doors without reading this story and understanding the importance of taking a stand for what is right and just.”

To continue to pass Wiesel’s message forward, the students passed out paper candles throughout the school the following day with the goal of inspiring others to be the hope they want to see in the world.