EDUCATION IN MOTION
ROE Alternative Program of Lake County teacher Larry Leck is just one of the many educators who frequent the Museum for our Summer Institutes and professional development workshops, and that serve as chaperones for field trips and Student Leadership Days. Larry’s passion for Holocaust and genocide education doesn’t just stay within the Museum’s walls. He makes sure to incorporate these topics in month long units in his high school and college classrooms. Of Polish descent, Larry has always been interested in Polish-Jewish relations. He has made three trips to Auschwitz in Poland over the years and encouraged his friends and family to accompany him to the camp.
“The history is very real,” says Larry, “I feel my students have to experience this.”
Through the Museum’s guidance, Larry has taken his passion and brought it with him into the classroom where he teaches a unit on the Holocaust, Rwandan, Bosnian, and Cambodian genocides. The unit ends with a field trip to the Museum where they learn to apply these lessons and focus on character development.
“Students come here and see the exhibits and it impacts them in real ways,” says Larry. “Part of what’s so valuable about this program is that it assists students in returning to proper social behavior. It helps them realize they can be upstanders despite the social pressure.”
Larry is confident that he has transformed his students from bullies and bystanders to community leaders and upstanders.
Larry now plans to create a new course at the College of Lake County titled “Justice and Human Rights” where students will study the legal and philosophical questions behind the international court systems used to punish those responsible for such genocides. By challenging college students to think critically about these provocative topics, Larry hopes they will develop a deeper understanding of the history and its implications.
By teaching his students about the “Power of One” — the tremendous power one individual has to make a difference — Larry is repairing the world one person at a time.