Maggie Gault Holocaust Memorial

Tue, 05/22/2007 - 4:23pm
By: The Citizen

maggie gault holocaust memorial

One student at Rising Starr Middle showed how one act of kindness had a rippling effect on an entire school.

Team 8D students in Suzanne Carey’s social studies classes had been studying about the Holocaust and reading the “Diary of Anne Frank.” Carey told her students that each one of them would be required to complete one act of kindness in honor of Anne Frank who wrote in her diary that people should give of themselves as much as they can.

It didn’t take eighth grader Maggie Gault long to figure out what she wanted to do as her act of kindness: construct a memorial garden at the school in honor of the estimated 1.5 million children who died during the Holocaust. When her fellow classmates heard about the idea, they were eager to help Maggie make the garden a reality.

A total of 40 students pitched in to donate plants, shrubs, garden accessories and prepare the area in front of the school for the memorial. As word spread about the project, students throughout the school started making monetary donations to help.

“This one act of kindness really caught on with the whole school. Over $500 was raised above the donated plants,” says Barbara Gault, Maggie’s mother.

Parents, including the Gault family, also pitched in to help. Master Gardner Tina Breckenridge offered guidance in designing the garden and John Pokorksi of Dynamic Edge donated copper etching for the dedication marker.

In little over a week, students and parent volunteers completed the garden, which, in addition to colorful flowers, features wrought iron benches, statuary and wind chimes and provides a peaceful area for thought and reflection.

The school held a dedication ceremony May 17 with special guests Ben Walker, a Holocaust survivor and Mike Weinroth, a volunteer from the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum on hand to take part in the festivities.

One by one students read poems and tributes they had written in honor of a specific child of the Holocaust. One student quoted a passage from Anne Frank’s diary that inspired the creation of the garden, “Open your eyes... give of yourself, give as much as you can. And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness.”

Walker had the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the Children’s Holocaust Memorial Garden. Following the ceremony, he spoke to the entire eighth grade about his Holocaust experiences.

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