The New Orleans JCC congratulates Paul Distler for being named 2019 Educator of the Year. He was selected for the outstanding work he has done integrating Holocaust education into the curriculum at Cabrini High School, a private all-girls Catholic school in New Orleans. Paul will be honored at the upcoming Yom Ha'Shoah Holocaust Memorial Program at the Uptown JCC on Sunday, May 5.
For the past 10 years as a World History teacher at Cabrini High, Paul has included in-depth coverage of the Holocaust in his curriculum. He recently created an elective course to study the Holocaust, which has impacted more than 80 students to-date. The school says even more students are already signed up to take the course next year.
Paul was surprised with the Educator of the Year honor during class and presented with a copy of We Were the Lucky Ones, a book by Georgia Hunter who will serve as the keynote speaker at Yom Ha'Shoah. Fellow teacher Lisa Dubus, present for the surprise honor, shared this about how Paul is shaping the school culture with Holocaust education:
"The Holocaust provides one of the most effective subjects for examining basic moral issues. A Structured inquiry into this history yields critical lessons for an investigation into human behavior. The course raises questions of social justice, individual identity, peer pressure, conformity, indifference, and obedience – issues that adolescent girls confront in their daily lives. Students are affected by and challenged to comprehend the magnitude of the Holocaust; and particularly why so many people allowed this genocide to occur by failing either to resist or to protest. They are inspired to reject hate and prejudice in their lives daily. Plus, they are encouraged to fight against political policies that promote exclusion and unfairness. These tenets reflect our school mission and values of respect, excellence, and service."