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North Hills memorializes kids lost in Holocaust through art

By Samuel Motley 

intern@salisburypost.com

North Hills Christian School on Monday memorialized children lost in the Holocaust through art.

As part of the 49 Days of Gratitude celebration, students decorated ceramic butterflies. It was part of what’s called “the Butterfly Project,” which has a goal of creating 1.5 million butterflies worldwide in memory of kids lost in the Holocaust, said Beth Nance, a representative of the events committee for 49 Days of Gratitude.

Founded by Jan Landau and Cheryl Rattner Price, the project was started at San Diego Jewish Academy in 2006. There are now more than 200 communities participating worldwide.

Both Salisbury Academy and North Hills started the local memorial by decorating butterflies last week. All Rowan County schools, public and private, are expected to participate in this part of the 49 Days commemoration.

North Hills is unique from other schools in Rowan County because it will be including students in grades four through 12 in the Butterfly Project, instead of only middle schoolers.

Butterflies have meaning, Nance said. The Butterfly Project was inspired by the poem “The Butterfly” by Paul Friedman, a child lost during the Holocaust.

People “look at the butterfly as a symbol of freedom, of hope,” Nance said.

Friedman was sent to Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. He was one of 15,000 children and about 144,000 people held at the camp. Of the 15,000 children, only 150 survived.

Honoring the child artists of Terezin, Nance said, North Hills will create an estimated 250 butterflies. Rowan County middle school students will create a total of 5,600 for the global initiative.

Monday was focused on “raising awareness with our kids to stand up for what is right and to remember that if we don’t learn our history, it tends to repeat itself,” said Natalie Jester, a visual arts instructor at North Hills.

“More or less, it was just an eye opener for the kids,” said Michael Owens, also a visual arts instructor at the school.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools still needs $3,300 to finish the project,” Nance said.

She has already raised an estimated $6,300. To provide the funds, Nance said, 49 Days of Gratitude has been using GoFundMe.

The closing ceremony for 49 Days of Gratitude is March 30.

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