By Lauren Sayah | Editor in Chief
On April 2, freshmen and SOS Lifeguards gathered in the Pearce auditorium to listen to Holocaust survivor Max Glauben speak. Glauben spoke about his experience and the importance of standing up to those who treat others with disrespect.
“I hope to give them the ability, which they naturally have, to become better people and if they see something wrong to do something about it,” Mr. Glauben said.
Mr. Glauben was 10 years old when WWII began. Throughout the war, he was transported between various concentration camps.
Mr. Glauben was able to survive because he was under a certain age and worked well. He was the only one in his family to survive.
After liberation, Mr. Glauben immigrated to the United States in 1947 under the Orphan Act.
Now, Mr. Glauben shares his story up to two or three times a day, depending on when the Dallas Holocaust Museum needs him. His speech connects to the SOS classroom with a lesson of confronting bullies and treating others with kindness.
SOS is a Pearce program in which senior “Lifeguards” mentor freshmen.
In the weeks building up to the assembly, SOS classrooms discussed the importance of doing kind acts in and outside the classroom. The classrooms also discussed the roles of students in relation to bullying.
“The only way to eliminate another tragedy like that is to become up-standers, not bystanders, because the Holocaust didn’t have to happen. People chose to make the Holocaust,” Glauben said.
The SOS teachers and Coastguards – faculty SOS advisers – saw an opportunity to connect these lessons with one of the most memorable events in history.
“When you want a speaker, you call the Holocaust Museum and tell them what you want,” Alex Gandy, SOS Coastguard, said. “Max is one of their biggest speakers, and he has been willing to come back each year.”
Every year, it quickly becomes clear that everyone in the auditorium is listening intently to what Mr. Glauben has to say.
“I thought that it was fantastic,” Ms. Gandy said. “There are two parts I always love. I love those moments where 700 kids are in a room with very few adults and are completely silent because they care about what they are listening to. I also love seeing huge hoards afterwards to meet him, hug him, shake hands with him and then post pictures.”
Although Mr. Glauben’s message is heard, its effect does not last as long as everyone would hope.
“I wish some of those things stayed longer,” Gandy said. “We get wrapped up into what’s going on in our life instead of thinking about those messages. Find something that sticks to you and write it somewhere so you realize things will get better.”