“What do you hold onto in the darkest of times when faced with the greatest of challenges?” –Mona Golabek
Walton Middle School’s own Ms. Kathy Russ makes time to educate her students not only about academics but also about humanity—along with the history, roles, and responsibilities it entails. Her class has recently been reading The Children of Willesden Lane: A True Story of Hope and Survival during World War II by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen. In the account, the author shares her mother Lisa Jura’s escape from Nazi-controlled Austria aboard the Kindertransport to London, where she relied on her dream of becoming a concert pianist to guide her through the grim days ahead. On Friday, November 13th, Ms. Russ’ class was in for a special treat. The class logged in to Mona Golabek’s live performance that combined storytelling with classical music to narrate the impact of her mother’s heart wrenching story. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a live question and answer session with the author and other students in classrooms elsewhere. At the end of the session, Golabek challenged students moving forward, stating, “Lisa held onto her dream. Now it is your turn.” She took time to emphasize how crucial it is for individuals today to break down the walls dividing us, that we are all in this together to make a better world. She expressed her belief that this generation is just the one to do that through self-examination and communication. She challenged students to examine their lives, stating, “Be worthy of life. Be worthy of the opportunity to make a difference.” Through the study of the book and the live session with the author, students gained lifelong lessons about not just the Holocaust but also social responsibility today.