Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission Awareness - Education - Inspiration

March Educator Grant Updates

An amazing part of the work we do at the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission is seeing the impact our programs have on students, teachers, and schools. One of the most direct ways we see this impact is through our annual Educator Grant program. Every fall, the THGC awards several grants, funding projects that further our mission of promoting Holocaust and genocide education in Texas schools, and bolster the personal, social, and civic responsibility of Texas students. Several of these projects have already begun in earnest, and the teachers involved have been sharing their successes with all of us here in the Austin office - so much so that we can't help but brag to our readers about the great work they are doing!

For example, Northside ISD in San Antonio received grants at two different schools: Folks Middle School and Construction Careers Academy. Their projects show the range of work funded by the Educator Grant Program. 

At Construction Careers Academy (CCA), students under the direction of Program Coordinator Audrey Ethridge are designing, constructing, and installing ADA accessibility ramps for wheelchair-users in San Antonio.


(photos courtesy of Audrey Ethridge)

Students have installed two ramps so far and have plans for more. We believe that encouraging service projects like this one reinforce our desire to imbue in individuals a sense of responsibility to uphold human value, and we love seeing students giving back to their communities. 

Just north of CCA, students at Folks Middle School used multimedia and cooperative learning to deepen their understanding of the Holocaust. Head Counselor Freida Donzis documented the day they spent in the library exploring this history together. Activities included analyzing Nazi propaganda, researching the timeline of the Holocaust, and telling the individual stories of those who were murdered and those who survived. We applaud this hands-on opportunity that Folks Middle School is bringing to its students. 

Another school whose project is in full swing is the International School of the Americas in North East ISD. Teacher Ryan Sprott is heading an inquiry-based course examining the current immigration landscape in the United States with a focus on border issues and policies. Last month, students traveled to McAllen, Texas, where they visited the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge and the South Texas Human Rights Center, and volunteered at the Catholic Respite Center. 


(photo courtesy of Ryan Sprott)

Students also met with Border Patrol officials and the Mayor of McAllen to learn about some of the pressing border issues in the area. You can learn more about this Borderland Collective project at their website, which has regular updates and more photos - their journey to understand this important current events issues is thrilling and transformative. 

All of this year's grant recipients are truly doing incredible work towards furthering the THGC's mission and making a difference in the lives of Texas students. We look forward to sharing more updates about these projects and our other grant recipients in the coming months!