On November 3rd, 70 Brush sophomores and their English teachers, Jill Strainic and Rumae Watkins-Clark had the opportunity to hear Loung Ung speak at Shaker Heights High School. Students recently read Ms. Ung’s memoir, First They Killed My Father which chronicles her experiences as a child under Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia. Ms. Ung, a long-time Shaker Heights resident wanted to speak to local students about her life, her writing, and the recent release of a film based on her memoir.
The event was organized by the local office of Facing History and Ourselves. FHAO is an international organization headquartered in Boston whose mission is to “engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.” Mrs. Strainic, one of several FHAO certified teachers at Brush, led her students through a meaningful study of the book and then organized a fundraiser to support the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Juniors and Seniors who had previously studied the book were invited to attend a viewing of the film, First They Killed My Father in the Brush PAC. Between a night working for the PTO concession stand and movie ticket sales and concessions, Mrs. Strainic and her students raised over $300 to donate to this important cause.
As a result of all of their hard work, three Brush students, Shyla White, Jisela Feliciano and Natallia Smith were invited to ask questions at the Shaker event and Talisda Terry delivered the closing statement.