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Video+Story: Holocaust Museum visit Preps El Paso ISD Students for Academic Decathlon

EPISD high-school students spent Tuesday morning touring the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center getting a deeper perspective into the horrific actions of the Nazi regime during the 1930s and 1940s.

The visit to the Downtown El Paso museum was more than just a history lesson for the students. It also was important preparation in anticipation of the upcoming Academic Decathlon competition, which this year will test students’ knowledge of World War II.

“The Holocaust Museum is a hidden gem within the city. The tour and exhibits relate back to the content we are studying in class,” said Alex Seufert, Coronado High Academic Decathlon coach.

Seventy-five students from seven EPISD high schools participated in the tour, taking a closer look at Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and the events of the Holocaust through a series of multi-media galleries.

“From an AcaDec side, the Holocaust is 10 percent of our test for social science,” Seufert said. “But I think more importantly, as a student and as people who seek knowledge, it’s important to come to the Holocaust Museum to learn from some of these examples.”

Seufert said the quotes written on the museum walls urge people never to forget what happened in Europe during World War II. He added: “Students need to learn the lessons here of tolerance and accepting people for who they are and not falling back on to history and making the same mistakes.”

The Academic Decathlon is designed to include students from all academic backgrounds. Each nine-member team consists of three A, three B and three C students. The competition includes a seven-minute interview, an hour essay and two speeches. It also includes written comprehensive exams in music, art, literature, math, economics, social science and the Super Quiz.

Austin High junior Samuel Acevedo felt the tour provided him with accurate information and a better understanding of the Holocaust.

“These are some things you can’t find on the internet and you also want to be sure of the sources,” Acevedo said. “I got a lot of good information. It had a strong impact.”

The field trip also gave students an opportunity to meet each other just prior to Saturday’s Academic Decathlon scrimmage. The actual competition will be Jan. 20-21.

“The kids don’t get to see each other very often so it is nice to be able to bring everyone together to give them a chance to create bonds with each other,” Seufert said. “It will give them something to talk about outside of the material.”

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