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Whittier Union High School District

Frontier Teacher Wins Grant to Visit Germany this Summer

Frontier High School history teacher Mary Ann Fajardo is one of six Los Angeles-area educators selected to travel to Germany in June as part of a 10-day program that will provide first-hand accounts of the Holocaust from survivors, eyewitnesses and scholars.

The “Diversity and Tolerance in Berlin – The Past, the Present and the Future” program, which takes place June 16-26, is organized by the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and the Museum of Tolerance as part of the Berlin-L.A. sister city relationship. It is intended to provide insight into the cultural, social, political and economic factors that resulted in the establishment of the Third Reich in Germany.

“I am really excited to go, because I will get to see things that I teach about,” said Fajardo, who has been with the District for six years. “With this experience, I can build a solid understanding of the conditions of hate, how it can destroy a society and how to overcome it. I plan to share what I learn with my students and staff.”

In 2018, Fajardo attended a Museum of Tolerance professional development session, “Voices and Choices of Young People during the Holocaust,” which qualified her for the trip to Berlin. Fajardo and her cohort will visit the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and the Jewish Museum, as well as “invisible” places and grassroots memorials.

“We spend weeks in class studying genocide, the detrimental effects of hate speech and how the world responds,” Fajardo said. “I try to teach my students to see the human in humanity and dedicate a whole quarter to helping them understand that they can be resilient, overcome adversity and are important human beings.”