The world recently commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Unfortunately, 41% of adults and 66% of American millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is according to a poll by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Coronado High School is ensuring their students are educated on this important part of history by hosting the recent exhibit, Anne Frank – A History for Today, in cooperation with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This exhibit took place in the Coronado High School library February 3-5, 2020. Coronado resident Roelof Roos, originally from the Netherlands, brought the opportunity to Coronado High School. Principal Schmeichel was excited to learn about the program, “When I heard about this, I was so interested to find a way where it could come to our school. The Anne Frank House has such a good message that lines up perfectly with our school ideals.” Coronado High School was one of five schools, and the only high school, in the San Diego area to host the traveling exhibit.
The exhibit featured over 70 photos of the Frank family to provide additional insight on the life of Anne Frank, made famous with the 1947 publication of her diary, Diary Of A Young Girl. The book details Anne’s experience with her family as they hid in the attic of her father’s office for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, Anne and her family were found by the Nazis and deported to concentration camps where Anne died in 1945. Only Anne’s father survived the war and after returning to Amsterdam he chose to publish Anne’s diary. The book has since been published in over 70 languages and sold over 30 million copies.
Two CHS sophomore students, Allie White and Marlie Meoni, were selected to be guides to teach the Anne Frank story. The student guides participated in a two-day training session in early December to prepare for their role. Allie shared her inspiration to be a guide, “I have always loved traveling but when I went to Amsterdam my family could not go to the Anne Frank House because tickets sell out months in advance. Being a peer guide and learning about the impactful role Anne Frank has on the world after the war has been a far richer experience than I ever could have imagined.”
After completing the exhibit Marlie shared, “It is so important we teach everyone about the past. History is one of my favorite subjects. I read Anne’s diary when I was younger, but going through this experience has helped me better understand who she was. I think that also being a student around the same age as Anne Frank helps me better understand the terrible cruelty of the Holocaust.”
Over three days, all CHS history classes spent time at the exhibit being led by either Marlie or Allie. While the girls served as guides, CHS librarian, Alana Rickards Vaught, worked behind the scenes to make sure everything ran smoothly. “When I first found out I was helping out with the exhibit, I was thrilled. Anne Frank’s story is so special and can really connect with students as they are all around her age when she was in the attic.”
Following the education provided by the Anne Frank exhibit, the CHS sophomore class will be visiting the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles on March 9th. Coronado High School is striving to ensure students learn from the horrors of the past such as the Holocaust to become better leaders of tomorrow.