Boyle Heights – The story of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis during World War II, was somewhat familiar to high school junior Citlalli Islas.
But after two days spent learning more about Frank, Islas is now among more than 20 teen docents at “Anne Frank: A History of Today,” a traveling exhibit that opened this weekend at Roosevelt High.
Sixteen-year-old Islas, who is a year older than Frank was when she died in a concentration camp, said she has a greater understanding of Frank, who gained fame when her diary was published after her death.
“I’m finding out more about her life and everything she went through,” said Islas, who attends Roosevelt Law and Public Service Magnet.
The exhibit, created by Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House museum, has traveled to more than 200 communities worldwide. More than 30 large panels feature photos of Frank, her family and their hiding place in the Netherlands.
According to organizers, the show is designed to encourage middle and high school students to think critically about numerous social issues and the moral courage to oppose intolerance and hate. After Saturday’s open house, the exhibit will be limited only to students.
Boyle Heights has a large Latino community. But for a major part of the 20th Century, the neighborhood had a substantial Jewish community.
A few years ago, Anne Frank LA, a Los Feliz nonprofit, approached the L.A. Unified School District about bringing the exhibit to local schools. Former Superintendent Austin Beutner “suggested we do a pilot program here at Roosevelt because of its rich history,” said Harvey Shield, co-founder of Anne Frank LA.
Having the exhibit at Roosevelt was “bringing the world to students and students to the world,” said Carla Barrera-Ortiz, LAUSD director of partnerships and grants.
History repeating itself?
On the mind of many at Saturday’s event was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“People say history repeats,” said Stacy Jacome, 16, a junior at Roosevelt Law and Public Service Magnet.
Jacome and Islas fear history is doing just that at this moment.
In Other School News …
Engineering and teamwork comes into play at robotics competition
Los Feliz STEMM Magnet School recently claimed First Place for Teamwork and Second Place for Skills at the VEX IQ Robotics Competition. LFSM fielded two teams of fourth and fifth graders. The Gear Bears built and coded a robot to collect and place balls on a 6’ x 8’ field. Students had to collaborate to complete tasks, develop engineering skills and learn how to strategize, communicate and collaborate.
“We understood that it’s all about supporting each other and teamwork and 21st Century skills,” said Gear Bear co-coach Henry Ramirez.
Youth of the Year
Elsie Cordero of Boyle Heights was awarded a $2,500 scholarship after winning the Youth of the Year award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley & Eastside. Cordero, a sophomore at Roosevelt High, is a leader in the club’s substance abuse prevention and education program and hopes to become an immigration lawyer.