Tag Archives: Holocaust

Holocaust and Genocide Expeditions students share their experiences

By Micah Tam

Staff Editor

In honor of Celebration of Learning, Summit Prep senior Milo Kemper and Summit Prep sophomore Adam Graziani imparted their personal views of the impact their Holocaust and Genocide class has had on them.

In the Holocaust and Genocide class, students learn in-depth about different aspects of the Holocaust and about genocides that occur around the world. Throughout the year, students get the chance to hear first-hand the experiences of Holocaust and genocide survivors. For example, this year Deng Jongkuch, a Darfur survivor, as well as a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, came to Summit Preparatory Charter High School to talk to students.

Holocaust and Genocide Expeditions teacher Lissa Thiele explained why she teaches her course: “I knew that I was going to be working in the field of Holocaust and genocide in some sort of way – to ensure that these things never happen again and to find out that they continue to happen right this second. Not on my watch. And, as a Jewish person, you cannot just stand up for one person and not stand up for all.”

To see more about the course, watch the video below:

Students and faculty appreciate Helen Farkas

By Kristian Bekele and Micah Tam

Staff Editors



Ms. Farkas, along with Expeditions teacher Lissa Thiele and her son Skylar, takes a selfie. 

Helen Farkas, a beloved member of the community and an honorable Holocaust survivor, recently passed away. Ms. Farkas was a grandmother figure to one of the Expeditions teachers, Lissa Thiele, who encouraged her to share her story with a number of Summit Public Schools as part of the History of the Holocaust course.

Summit Prep freshman Dariana Pacheco Rodriguez shared, “[Ms. Farkas] was strong enough to survive and share her story, and that just really inspired me.”


Summit Prep freshman Dariana Pacheco Rodriguez 

Ms. Farkas is a renowned author and Holocaust survivor who wrote Remember the Holocaust: A Memoir of Survival, a memoir recounting her personal experiences in the most infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz. Ms. Farkas inspired many by sharing her story in local high schools and by establishing the Helen and Joe Farkas Center at Mercy High School in San Francisco.

Ms. Farkas was born in Romania and grew up in Hungary before she was forcefully moved to ghettos and later shipped to the concentration camp Auschwitz. She had to endure a long and torturous death march until she and her sister successfully escaped.

At Summit Preparatory Charter High School, many students remember the lasting impact hearing Ms. Farkas’s story had on them.


Evelyn Aguilar poses with Ms. Farkas.

Summit Prep junior Evelyn Aguilar explained that it helped her realize the privilege of living in the United States. She went on to recall something that Ms. Farkas said to students: “It’s beautiful that you guys get to grow up in a place where you don’t have to worry about going through something I went through.”

Through Ms. Farkas’ efforts to spread knowledge about the importance of the Holocaust, both Rodriguez and Aguilar agreed that they gained a much more vivid understanding of the historical event and a greater appreciation of the circumstances they grew up in.


Below is a video of Helen Farkas sharing her story for the Burlingame Public Library:

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Ms. Farkas and Ms. Thiele attend “A Night To Remember,” an event meant to show the atrocities that the Roth family suffered through during the Holocaust. 

Students show their creativity through the arts

By CC Logan

Staff Writer

Students in the Video Production, Visual Arts, Creative Writing and Holocaust Expeditions classes showed their creativity through arts projects for the after school Celebration of Learning event.

Video Production

In the Video Production Expeditions course, students got to learn different filming and editing techniques which help achieve a higher quality video, such as filming at different angles, making certain frames slow motion and adding music and filters. For their final product, students had to produce a video in two weeks that incorporated the skills they learned during their Expeditions course, centered around the theme of poor-quality technology and tied into the class’s GoFundMe page.

Summit Prep junior Brendan Green explained that his video is “about how slow all the computers in Video Production class are” and that he compared the slow technology to Russia in the 1930s. Green said he wanted to “add humor by taking something that is unlike our subject and comparing it to something completely different.”

Another Summit Prep junior, Erick Espinoza, went a different route with his final product and made his “about the ‘E-Waste God’ and how he needs more computers.”

During the Celebration of Learning presentation, students showcased their videos in front of their peers and parents. After the screening, Marlene Zobayan, mother of Summit Prep freshman Joey Darwood, said that her experience was “really good and very interesting” and that she liked how the films “had a purpose to raise money for film equipment.” She added that video production is definitely “a 21st century skill” that would be helpful in the future.


Marlene Zobayan, mother of Summit Prep freshman Joey Darwood, said the Video Production film screening was “very interesting.”


A crowd of students and parents watch student films during the Celebration of Learning presentation.

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Summit Prep junior Erick Espinoza watches his final product, E Waste God.

Visual Art:

Summit Prep art students wrote gallery-style explanations to accompany their art. Here are three examples:

Below are some more pictures that were drawn by Summit Prep Visual Arts students:

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Creative Writing:

Empowerment Through Creative Writing is a class in which students get to explore the world of writing to benefit themselves. Students learn how to write and step out of their shell through different styles of poetry. During Celebration of Learning, those students applied themselves with a Poetry Slam, a Spoken Word competition that lasted three rounds, including both individual and group poems.

Summit Prep freshmen Damien Jackson, Eliza Insley, Grace Bartz and Hattie Hughes present their poem about how our society is so connected to technology that people do not realize there is more to life.

Summit Prep freshmen Darren D’avila and Angel Miranda present their poem about love and hatred.

Summit Prep freshman Jessica Esparza presents her poem about love and happiness.

Summit Prep freshmen Angel Miranda and Jocelyn Gallardo present their poem, which argues that our world is a beautiful disaster.

Summit Prep freshman Devon Anthony and junior Ivonne Acosta present their poem on saying what they want to say.

Left:  Summit Prep freshman Joey Darwood presents his poem about making mac and cheese.

Right: Summit Prep freshmen Angel Miranda and Darren D’avila prepare to present.


“There is good, there is bad, and then there is you.” That is a lesson that Lissa Thiele, whose family was persecuted during the Holocaust, hopes to impart to the students in her Holocaust Expeditions course. During the Celebration of Learning, the scholars in the class walked around the school to get people to sign a Pledge of Respect.

Evelyn Aguilar, a sophomore at Summit Prep, said that taking the class made students “think twice and become socially aware,” explaining that she “realized how many people the Holocaust actually affects.” Another sophomore, Rob Wilds, said the class “improved empathy” and taught him to “stand up for what I think is right.”After taking the class, he realized “how big of an impact one person’s ideas can make.”

 Aguilar learned from the class that “hate or war is never the answer.” Wilds learned that “humans are very susceptible to influence and we always have to be cognizant of it.”

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 Staff Writers Darren D’avila, Micah Tam, Nicholas Reed, Darya Worsell and David Martinez contributed to this report. 

Expeditions students explore their passions

By Cindy Aviles

Staff Writer

Expeditions classes allow students to explore many subjects they are passionate about. There were many diverse classes that presented at the Celebration of Learning on May 11, giving students and parents from Summit Public School: Rainier the opportunity to see what other students care about and what they have worked so hard on during Expeditions.

AP Art: Taught by Eli Cetto

The AP Art class at Summit Rainier is full of talented and ambitious students striving to achieve college credit for their work. The class is taught by Eli Cetto, a professional artist from the Bay Area. She has pushed students to reach their full potential by offering constructive criticism to make sure each student has the best portfolio when submitting to the College Board.

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On May 11, during the annual Celebration of Learning night, students from the AP Art class were able to showcase the work they have been producing in class for the eight weeks of Expeditions.


Journalism teacher Elizabeth DeOrnellas looks at some of the art produced by Rainier senior Max Sanchez.

Intro to Art: Taught by Eli Cetto

Students in this class are given the chance to create art in various mediums and are taught the basic skills of composition. During this class, they were given the chance to learn new things and to create meaningful pieces.

Students in the Intro to Art class presented a range of pieces. 

Here’s what some students had to say about their work: 

Rainier freshman Sophie Gao said, “Art is fun and suffering.”

“I like art because it’s like a fun class to take and also you get to try new things that you don’t really get to do, I guess,” Rainier sophomore Angel Chavez said. “There are also different types of art, and sometimes we get to do different art styles. It’s just a fun class.”

Rainier freshman Gabriela Morales Garcia said,  “I made more than I expected, and I had a lot of free time to make more art.”

“Art makes me feel happy. I like art because there’s no boundaries and no limits,” Rainier freshman Elliott Alejo said. “What inspires me is a community itself, what other people lay out in front of me.”

Here are some additional images of the art created by students in this course:

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Yoga: Taught by Regina Garcia

Students in the Yoga Class created posters that displayed different yoga poses, how to do them and what their benefits are. Here are a series of posters that the students made, describing meditations and poses:

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Holocaust: Taught by Lissa Thiele

In this class, students speak deeply about what the Holocaust was and about the impact of other traumatic events. During Celebration of Learning, small artifacts and posters that the students created were on display.


This picture shows the creativity the students put into their project.


The exhibit displayed a series of images from Japanese internment camps.


Students created a gallery display for visitors.

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Rainier sophomore Andy Nguyen discusses the exhibit with seniors Anthony Nguyen-Pham and Hunter Lindstrom.

Here are additional images of the exhibit created by the Holocaust course:

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Human Sexuality:  Taught by Lia Pinelli

In this class, students talk about the reproductive system and are given a space to talk about things in Human Sexuality that might seem uncomfortable to talk about to others. They learn a lot from this class, which is basically a sex education class, and their presentation included such topics as how to handle coming out and how parents can learn to have conversations with their children in a comfortable and accepting manner.


Rainier sophomore Katherin Vasquez explains her slides on healthy relationships to the parents.


Students talk with the parents about the reproductive system to normalize terms used in Human Sexuality.


Teacher Assistant and Rainier senior Maya Jaquez gives a small speech about Human Sexuality and her experience in the class as she introduces the class.

Girls Rising: Taught by Lia Pinelli

This class allows girls in our school to come together and talk about issues that women face. This class allows girls to grow a small community that helps them personally. They talk about issues that they might face and how certain issues can be handled.




This program shows the names of the students in the Girl Rising Class who gave a series of presentations about problems that women face and created videos related to women’s issues.







Rainier freshmen Madelin Morales and Lariza Flores give a presentation about girls and education. This presentation explained how some women take education for granted, while many girls around the world don’t have access to education. Many women face barriers just to receive education and jobs.


The Girl Rising class attracts a crowd during the Celebration of Learning.


Rainier junior Faith Martinez gives a presentation about abusive relationships. She created a video with a series of interviews. People interviewed were given a scenario of an abusive relationship and students answered if it is an abusive relationship or not. A hot line for abusive relationships is also given at the end of the video.

Staff Writers Ashley Venegas, Cristian Trujillo, Isaiah Garcia, Max Sanchez, Ariana Medina, Alex Bonnett, Harmandeep Dhaliwal and Janniven Hernandez contributed to this report.