Fox Chapel teacher’s fellowship benefits students
Students in the Fox Chapel Area School District are gaining a better understanding of the impact of the Holocaust through the expertise of a teacher chosen to participate in a educational fellowship. Fox Chapel Area teacher Scott Vensel recently attended a prestigious program for Holocaust educators. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vensel was one of 22 educators selected to be a 2022 Alfred Lerner Fellow this summer. He was the only teacher from Pennsylvania chosen.
The annual fellowship, held in New Jersey for five days last month, is hosted by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) to provide extensive techniques and studies about teaching the Holocaust.
Vensel is an eighth grade English teacher at Dorseyville Middle School and has been teaching the Holocaust for 16 years. He helps students understand the importance of the Holocaust by having them read Night by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of Anne Frank so that they can consider the writers’ personal experiences and reflect on them. He also has brought in Holocaust survivors, artists and authors to speak to his students.
“[The] message to us was be careful telling students what you need to know about the Holocaust and other effects,” Vensel said of the training, in the article. “It’s really their experience. I can lead them in the right direction, put the information in front of them, but ultimately I want them to interpret it for themselves.”