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WWII Speaker Series
recipients: Jane Luethge, Burke High School, Omaha, NE
date: Spring 2014
Jane Luethge, currently a humanities curriculum specialist at Burke High School in Omaha, embarked on a life-changing journey with the senior English class at Omaha Central High School during the 2013-2014 school year. A participant in the Library’s Nebraska Satellite, she piloted Central’s new course on “Social Justice,” engaging 35 students in both literature and experiential learning to raise awareness of their place in the global community and their personal responsibility to others. Thanks to a Library mini-grant, the course culminated in a visit to the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland last spring, giving Jane’s students the opportunity to reflect on the Holocaust and man’s obligation to the rest of humankind.
As students toured a powerful art exhibit that combined photos, memorabilia, and testimony from Nebraskan Holocaust survivors and from local soldiers who liberated the concentration camps, they watched the stories they read in class come to life. The highlight of the day, however, was hearing the moving testimony of survivor Lou Leviticus, who put a human face on their study of the Holocaust. After the visit, students each researched a post-Holocaust genocide and presented their difficult findings to their peers. The total experience surpassed Jane’s expectations. “This was something they will never forget,” she says, “and that’s my ultimate goal for each of my students.”