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Redbank Valley Civics Instructor Recounts Auschwitz for Clarion Rotary

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

fullsizeoutput_4fe7CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Redbank Valley Civics teacher Dr. Joe Harmon shared his thoughts on the German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with members of the Clarion Rotary Club on Monday.

(Pictured above: Dr. Joe Harmon.)

Harmon was one of 23 teachers from across the United States chosen to take part in an all-expense paid journey through Poland; however, for his Rotary talk, Harmon concentrated on his visit to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest of the extermination camps of the Holocaust, and he talked in detail about activities at the infamous compound.

He is planning a special presentation at Redbank Valley to share what he learned with the community, including photographs.

Harmon was a 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalist as well as the 2016 Pennsylvania History Teacher of the Year.

“In 2014, Pennsylvania lawmakers added a provision within the public school code that strongly suggested Holocaust, genocide, and human rights education be incorporated within social studies and language arts course of instruction,” said Harmon.

Upon learning of the new provision, Harmon proposed a semester-long “Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights” course to Redbank Valley’s administration and school board. The proposal was approved, and the class was adopted as part of Redbank Valley’s social studies curriculum for juniors. Harmon’s class completed its second successful year of instruction in May.

Harmon applied for the trip in the hopes of not only having the opportunity to travel to Poland but also to gain invaluable resources by visiting the sites to better build his curriculum that he teaches in his class. In addition, he had the chance to collaborate with other teachers from across the nation.

While Harmon was undeniably excited to have the opportunity to see the historic locations in person, he also looks forward to being able to bring his knowledge and learning from the trip back to Redbank Valley and the New Bethlehem community as a whole.

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