Neptune City students are collecting pencils to represent the children who died during the Holocaust.
By DENISE HERSCHEL
Woodrow Wilson School students have embarked upon a life-changing project in their classroom this month. While studying about the Holocaust, students at the Neptune City school were saddened and shocked to learn that close to 11 million died during this time, with more than half of that number (over six million) being Jewish.
They also learned that 1.5 million Jewish children were part of that six million. So they decided to initiate the “One Million Five Hundred Thousand” project, collecting both new and used pencils with their goal to collect 1.5 million pencils to represent the 1.5 million children who died during the Holocaust.
“This is the first time we are implementing this project. We started it last week and it will end when we collect 1.5 million pencils,” Tracy Whitt, Woodrow Wilson Middle School Social Studies teacher, said. “Because we have just begun, we only have about 4,900 pencils thus far. We still have a long way to go!”
Whitt said approximately 75 middle school students at the school are involved in the project. She said she is hoping the project will teach students about acceptance, diversity, humanity and resilience.
“Learning about the Holocaust is part of the New Jersey Curriculum Content Standards. It takes a couple of weeks to cover the Holocaust. Depending on the grade level, students learn about World War ll, Hitler’s rise to power, the effects of prejudice and propaganda, the difference between bystanders and upstanders and they read and listen to stories in Social Studies and Language Arts,” she said.
She said sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are leading the project.
“But we hope to get all of our students (Pre-K through eighth grade) involved in collecting the pencils,” she said. “Once we receive all 1.5 million pencils and understand the magnitude of children they represent, we would like to donate them to schools in need around the world. We are also looking forward to a Zoom meeting scheduled in May with a Holocaust survivor.”
Whitt said anyone can donate pencils to the project with several generous donations already being made via word of mouth. Patrick’s Grille in Neptune City is a drop off place for pencils.
Donations can be sent to Woodrow Wilson School, 210 West Sylvania Avenue, Neptune City, N.J. 07753.