Cattle Cars Make Train Stop at Lake Highland


Photo by Kailey Calvo.

(Above) Mr. Derek Daly, Director of the Upper School, and Mr. Jonathan Hiett, Associate Director and Upper School Dean of Students, were two of many faculty and administrators that accompanied students in viewing the Hate Ends Now event. Mr. Hiett shared his thoughts, “The Hate Ends Now Tour was such a powerful and immersive experience. Being in the cattle car, hearing from Holocaust survivors, and getting a small taste for the horrific events they dealt with was indescribable.”

(Above) Yumi Okuda, grade 11, exclaimed of the Cattle Cart, “I think that being in the cart in itself, and having that 360 viewing experience, really helped to fully immerse me into what happened during the Holocaust. Hearing the voices of the survivors and seeing the heart-wrenching images on the walls made me think about how we need to continue to spread this world with more love and acceptance of different cultures/diversities. Because although the past cannot be changed, there’s no reason as to why we can’t start changing society now for the present and future.” (Photo by Sarah Finfrock.)
(Above) As president of the Jewish Student Union chapter at Lake Highland, Jonah Podberesky, grade 10, hopes that students can feel enlightened after the Hate Ends Now Tour. He helped plan for the cattle car to come to Lake Highland and believed that this one-of-a-kind experience will promote a cultural understanding of the Holocaust following the recent anti-Semitic attacks at the University of Central Florida. “I felt amazing going into this tour and helping plan for this tour to come to LHP. I think this is what Lake Highland and all of Orlando needed after the terrible things that happened in Central Florida a couple of weeks ago,” Podberesky added. (Photo by Amanda Wiboon.)
(Above) Rhea Nandwani, grade 12, describes her experience. “I signed up for the Hate Ends Now Tour because I thought it would be a good way to learn more about the atrocities of the Holocaust from a deeper perspective. I think one of the best ways to truly honor victims is to place yourself in their shoes and empathize with the struggles they endured. By increasing our empathy, we ensure that the stories of victims never die. I also signed up for the tour for an uncensored lesson about the Holocaust; something rawer than we could be taught in history class. While I will never fully understand what the victims of the Holocaust went through, completing this experience gave me more insight into a dark part of history. I was so grateful to hear the first-hand accounts of two Holocaust survivors- their bravery in reliving their stories ensures that we will never forget the tragedies of the Holocaust.” (Photo by Zeal Patel.)
(Above) Students reflected on their experiences after the cattle car exhibit by writing meaningful messages to share with the community. Daniel Nabatian, the director of JSU Central Florida, elaborated on some of his insights: “This tour has been so well received and has helped Jewish students feel more secure with their identity at school. My only hope is that more schools in Orlando follow the lead of Lake Highland and bring this important project to their campuses in the future.” Daniel’s dedication to this project is a reminder of the passionate individuals who strive to keep the memories of Holocaust survivors alive. (Photo by Luis Roldan.)
(Above) Sophomore, Jonah Podberesky, noted, “When I was in the cattle car, I felt so many emotions I didn’t know what to do. I felt sadness and respect for the people in the Holocaust and for my family all at the same time. Overall, I felt amazing learning more and more about the Holocaust and what my family and other families had to go through.” (Photo by Delaney Bolstein.)
(Above) In Mr. Andrew Prazeres’ classroom, AP United States History students learn about the genocide of Jewish people during the Holocaust. The lesson focused on the dehumanization and loss of identity as a result of the cruel and inhumane conditions of the concentration camps. With the entire class viewing images in the small replica cattle car, the tour replicated a small fraction of the confined conditions endured by people during the Holocaust. The tour stressed the importance of Holocaust awareness, especially during a time of increasing ignorance and discrimination. Once the canvas is finished, it will be gifted to Lake Highland as a reminder to always stand up for what you believe in and, “Make your mark.” (Photo by Alexandra Caballero.)
(Above) As the Hate Ends Now Tour visited Lake Highland, the experience was located at the heart of the Upper School campus. The environment around the Cattle Car felt open, to draw the attention of everyone in the Lake Highland community, yet busy and interactive at the same time with various students and faculty coming in and out of the Cattle Car all day long. Many individuals visited the experience either to gain more knowledge about the Holocaust or to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with people who were not able to view the Cattle Car firsthand. (Photo by Rebecca Reif.)
(Above) Before The Hate Ends Now Tour, Wyatt Mayer, grade 9, said, ” ‘It’s sad that all of these groups were targeted even though they hadn’t done anything.” After experiencing the event, Wyatt added, “It was a very depressing experience that I never knew had so much more detail. I hope that after this experience people will know how the Holocaust should never be repeated ever again.” (Photo by Zane Rimes.)
(Above) Ms. Crystal Raphael, Lake Highland’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, also had an impactful experience with the Hate Ends Now tour. In the context of students understanding the relevance of issues, Ms. Raphael explained, “A lot of times we think history is just history, but if we know history well, and if there aren’t necessary change agents, history tends to repeat itself… Students need the words to jump off the page at them and get to that place where they can feel empathy.” This empathy is necessary to spark community action against issues of prejudice, hate, and discrimination. Ms. Raphael is looking at a few other immersive experiences for LHPS and has also been in conversation with the regional Jewish Student Union to discuss ways to bring this event every other year, all in hopes of motivating students to pursue understanding over animosity in today’s world. (Photo by Santiago Calderon.)

Hate Ends Now, The Cattle Car Experience, was brought to Lake Highland to give students an opportunity to experience and learn about the Holocaust. While students learned about the Holocaust throughout their high school history courses, The Cattle Car provided a realistic setting in which participants were able to relate to what they have previously learnt. After entering the car, guests were faced with film projections and personal interviews of those who had been affected by the Holocaust. It is important that students use this opportunity to be aware of how discrimination is still exists so they can make it a priority to fight off all hatred in today’s society.