Michelle Hudgens, lead English instructor at the OTC Richwood Valley Campus, was selected as one of 25 participants nationwide to attend the 2015 Summer Seminar for the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teacher’s Program (HAJRTP). The seminar’s itinerary includes a two-week trip to Germany and Poland July 1-14. Participants will meet Holocaust survivors, network with other instructors, and tour the museums, memorials, camps and ghettos of the Holocaust. The event is sponsored by the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
Hudgens has been an OTC English instructor for eight years. For the past four semesters, she has co-taught a Holocaust course, History/English 295, with history instructor Shirey Van Hook. The hybrid course allows students to navigate both historical and literary interpretations of the Holocaust, while offering students the flexibility to fulfil either English or history credit requirements.
“We spend quite a bit of time reading examples of and talking about the differences between biography, autobiography, memoir, and diary and their role as literature,” said Hudgens. “If a student planning to become a history major takes the course, he or she will see the connection between these types of sources and how each should impact their understanding of the past differently. Students interested in literature can also see how historical interpretations may affect our understanding of texts.”
Hudgens hopes the summer seminar will allow her to network with other instructors and extend her teaching abilities.
“Investigating the Holocaust may seem like a dark subject to many people, but I feel it is an important subject to teach because genocide continues to happen across the world,” said Hudgens. “From Cambodia to Bosnia-Herzegovina to Darfur, we keep repeating the mistakes of the past. We hope students will begin to understand how fear and hatred can cause humans to commit monstrous acts, and we hope students will learn the warning signs of persecution and genocide as well.”