Greendale students use social studies lesson to give back: 'Shine a light on something terrible'

GREENDALE -- Students at Greendale Middle School (GMS) are turning a social studies lesson into giving back.

Ali Hammad

"Other people needed them more than me," said Ali Hammad, an eighth-grade student at GMS.

The students were inspired to dig through their closets after a presentation about the holocaust. One image stood out.

"Just seeing a picture of the concentration camp with hundreds of thousands of shoes from kids sizes to adults, and that just really showed how many people died," Hammad said.

The presentation is called the "Holocaust Shoe Project." It is a project started by Alan Morawiec, the son of a holocaust survivor. The presentation teaches about the severity of the holocaust while calling on students to give back.

Erin McCarthy

"We want to shine a light on something terrible that happened in the past, but also what are the things we can do today to help people," said Erin McCarthy, a social studies teacher at GMS.

McCarthy said eighth grade is the perfect age to teach this lesson.

"When you're in eighth grade you're making those decisions about who you want to be and what do you want to do with your life, what choices you want to make," McCarthy said. "This implants a seed in your mind that like I don`t want to be the person that`s hateful and that judges people and treats people cruelly."

The students at Greendale have made a decision about who they want to be.

"I don't want to be that person who doesn't help. You want to help," Hammad said.

The shoes are being donated to the annual Stan's Fit For Your Feet shoe drive.