Holocaust survivor, Paula Marks-Bolton, hugs each student who went on the trip and thanked them.
It's a tough topic, but a field trip for Holocaust class students was invaluable in bringing the classroom content into a new light.

To expand upon the classroom lessons, 30 students who took the Holocaust class at OHS traveled to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills this spring. Students say it brought everything they had learned into a new light. “I liked how it brought the book to life and we got to see more real life things they went through,” says junior Lily Laws of seeing what the concentration camps were really like.

One of the areas of the center that had a big impact on student was a tunnel that they walked through where they had real footage of what was happening to those in the concentration camps, “That really made it more real,” says junior Jason Weber.

The students had a 90-minute guided tour of the center first, where they also learned more about the Jewish culture. Then, they got to meet with a Holocaust survivor, Paula Marks-Bolton. “She was amazing,” the kids say. She spent many years as a prisoner in 5 different concentration camps. You can read more about Paula’s story here. She spoke to the kids for about 45 minutes. “She gave hope with everything she went through. She made it personal and gave everyone a hug and said thank you,” Weber added.

“Her main message is love one another, be kind and help those who cannot help themselves,” says Julie Trahan. She and Lori Laughlin both teach the class at OHS and actually met her when they went to a summer seminar at the Center.

“Her value of life was way different than ours,” Laws says, “She’s happy even thought she’s gone through all that.”

Overall the students thought it was a great trip, and reflected on how what happened then teaches us valuable lessons yet today. “They talked a lot about how we shouldn’t bully, and this could happen again. We’re in control, and we just can’t be bystanders,” Laws says of others treating people badly.

“It added a lot of value to the class.” Weber says of the experience.

You can learn more about the Holocaust Memorial Center here.