Earl Marriott Secondary teacher Mark Figueira was among 16 educators selected to complete in-depth Holocaust history teaching last month at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (File photo)

South Surrey teacher selected for advanced Holocaust studies

Mark Figueira attended the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum program July 8-12

A South Surrey teacher is among 16 educators nationwide selected to receive in-depth Holocaust history training at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Mark Figueira, a social studies teacher at Earl Marriott Secondary, attended the Museum Teacher Fellowship Program last week (July 8-12), where he “immersed himself in advanced historical and teaching training… to foster greater understanding of the relevance of Holocaust history today in his community.”

According to a news release, participants were chosen for their extensive knowledge of Holocaust history, successful teaching experience and participation in community and professional organizations.

Figueira’s commitment to teaching about the Holocaust and its lessons was recognized four years ago with the 2015 Kron Sigal Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education.

The following month, the EMS history department head spent 20 days in Israel, interviewing Holocaust survivors while attending the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

READ MORE: South Surrey teacher gets intense lesson in history

He pledged to take what he’d learned there and use it to help his students gain a deeper and more thoughtful understanding of that part of the world’s history.

“For me, it is important to remember and tell the stories of the victims,” Figueira told Peace Arch News at the time.

“Tell the story so it’s not forgotten.”

Gretchen Skidmore, director of the museum’s education initiatives in the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education, said in the release that Museum Teacher Fellows “play a vital role in bringing the lessons of the Holocaust to communities around the country.”

“Teaching students critical thinking skills as well as providing resources that encourage in-depth examination of how and why the Holocaust happened are key components of the museum’s ongoing engagement with educators across the country.”

Established in 1996, the Museum Teacher Fellowship Program has developed a national corps of educators to help lead the museum’s efforts to ensure quality Holocaust education in secondary schools, the release states. To date, 394 Museum Teacher Fellows have been trained.

Each Fellow is expected to create and implement an outreach project, then attend a follow-up program next July at the museum to assess those efforts and continue their studies with staff and speakers, the release adds.

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