Not much cultural diversity. 50% free and reduced lunch. Industry supporting then devastating the community, then leaving town. Home of the Tigers… sound familiar, Hudson Falls?
Last fall Hudson Falls kids and I had the pleasure of getting to know Joe Fab, the major moving force behind the film Paper Clips, when he came to our town to speak.On Tuesday morning this week, a few educators and I loaded into cars for a pleasant drive from Nashville to Whitwell, to visit the middle school where it all began, and their Children’s Holocaust Memorial, a cattle car from Germany that was used to carry human beings to the extermination centers. Now that is not technically correct; the Middle school is in a new building that also houses a special Holocaust Memorial library, which is thought to be the largest single collection in the state. Every letter they ever received is archived there, including the negative ones that arrived with the paper clips twisted into swastikas.
Linda Hooper, the former principal, greeted the nine of us, and gave us a private talk about the impact of the project and the unbelievable ripple effect it has had on people’s lives across the world. Sandy Roberts told us how the project unfolded in her after school class, where students and parents reflected together in a meaningful way on the impact of learning about the Holocaust on their lives. And that is how this project was born.
Before we move to criticize the project as just another counting activity, the collecting and counting of objects to symbolize human life, come to Whitwell and meet the people. Read the letters. And see for yourself the power of a small community and its impact on the world. Read the letters to think for yourself of the millions who were lost.