Editor's note: The following article was written by MHS student Jenn Orswell, a member of the student newspaper, "The Kingsbury Chronicle." Orswell'ss piece is part of Medfield Patch's weekly series, "Warrior Weekly," which appears every Wednesday.
Each year brings ideas and new classes for students to take at Medfield High School. This year there is a class centered on learning about the Holocaust. The semester-long course, taught by English teacher Madeline Chamberlain and history teacher Mark Penn, teaches students about this event from both literary and historical perspectives.
Students spend half of the semester with English or history and then switch for the second half of the semester. In Mr. Penn’s class, they cover topics from the rise of the Nazi party to the Nuremburg trials, and almost every major event in between.
“I want students to walk away with an understanding that ordinary people can be persuaded to do evil things,” said Penn, “and also that people can also choose not to participate and instead do heroic things.”
The students have recently done a project called the “Righteous People Project.” This project had the students design a memorial for people who risked their lives to do something good.
Towards the end of the study of the historical aspect, students will learn about the Nuremburg Trials and debate forgiveness for the men accused.
As it is brand-new at the high school, Penn is thinking of ways to improve the course for years to come. He says that he would like for the course to be more student-centered, having them investigate and find things out more on their own.
Senior Chelsea Robertson found the course “eye opening.” She said that it is interesting to learn about the Holocaust in more detail than previous courses have.
Another project students did involved creating their own propaganda posters and trying to convince the class of their viewpoints. It helped students understand how easy it is to sway people’s ideas about a cause.
Robertson said that she would recommend for younger students to take it in the future. “As long as they are willing to go in with an open mind, it can be really eye opening. Not just about the Holocaust, but human nature in general.”