EAST HANOVER, NJ - The award-winning, student-generated Genocide Gallery Walk was on display at Hanover Park High School for the public to tour on Tuesday, June 7. The display is a culmination of the work from the Genocide Studies course taught at Whippany Park and Hanover Park, and showcases art pieces, videos, and other symbolic gestures created by the students.
Mr. Brady Mahar is the Genocide Studies teacher for the district and teaches the class to over 100 students at each school (Hanover Park and Whippany Park) every year. The class runs as a semester course, usually two sections per semester, and normally 4-6 times per year.
“Superintendent Carol Grossi brought the idea of wanting a genocide studies course and she tasked me and Chris Kelly (then supervisor, now principal of Whippany Park) with putting together a curriculum,” said Mahar. “We wanted to provide the students with an opportunity for service learning as a capstone for the course, so we came up with the idea of the Gallery Walk. After the first year’s test run we all decided it should be done again, on a larger scale.”
This is the fifth year of the Genocide Gallery Walk. The first year the Gallery Walk was at Whippany Park, and after the second year it began to alternate between Hanover Park and Whippany Park.
The work represented in the Gallery Walk is the culmination of at least 2 to 2 ½ years of students' work that has been collected, so exhibits are phased in and out. Every year there is a different theme. Last year’s theme was “Never Again”, and this year was the eight stages of genocide. The larger project focuses on the theme, while the seven main genocides are always represented as well.
The Genocide Gallery Walk is the recipient of the New Jersey Anti-Defamation League’s Aaron A. Flanzbaum 21st Century Democratic Heritage Award.
Speaking of awards, Mr. Brady Mahar will be receiving the Margit Feldman Teaching Award for holocaust studies on June 20 in Trenton. More on that recognition to come.
Holocaust survivor Ms. Maud Dahme (the “Hidden Child”) will be speaking on Wednesday, June 8 at 10 am at Hanover Park, and also 10 am at Whippany Park on Thursday, June 9. The public is welcome at either event.