Local high school teacher leads Armenian Genocide oral history project

High school students interviewing a member of the Armenian community (Photo: Kelsey Duggan)

BELMONT, Mass. — Dozens of local high school students from the Greater Boston area participated in an Armenian Genocide remembrance oral history project at First Armenian Church on January 28. Forty-five high school students, most of whom were not Armenian, interviewed over 60 Armenians of all ages, from different churches and different parts of the Armenian community. 

The purpose of these interviews was to collect oral histories concerning not only the Armenian Genocide, but the way in which history is passed on from generation to generation. 

Community members were asked to bring photographs from their family archives (Photo: Kelsey Duggan)

This event was organized by Jenny Staysniak, a history teacher from Lincoln Sudbury High School. She is also on the Teacher Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves.

Staysniak is passionate about teaching her students about the Armenian Genocide. She feels young people today have a remarkable capacity to be upstanders in the face of injustice. It is through these types of educational experiences that students can be part of the story, not just the audience. 

Forty-five high school students from the Greater Boston area participate in an Armenian Genocide oral history project (Photo: Kelsey Duggan)

The student interviewers are now working on writing their reflections from these interviews. Staysniak and other teachers involved in the project will help compile, edit and form a narrative that will be incorporated into a larger resource guide for potential publication. The resource guide comes at an incredibly pertinent moment in history, when states like Massachusetts are passing legislation ensuring students learn about genocide within the classroom.

Interviews were conducted at First Armenian Church, Belmont, Mass. (Photo: Kelsey Duggan)
L. Janigian

L. Janigian

L. Janigian is a student at Lincoln Sudbury High School and a member of First Armenian Church.

1 Comment

  1. What an important event to bring light to the many stories of genocide survivors. Thank you to the high school students and their teacher for their efforts in gathering real life stories which may otherwise be forgotten if we do not continue to pass them onward from generation to generation.

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