The Experience of a Lifetime

Earlier this year, I posted about meeting Holocaust survivor Fred Gross (from my home state of Kentucky) while at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.  I’ve been planning since then to bring him to my students and this week that became a reality.

In preparation, my students have been reading and discussing both the Holocaust and his book, One Step Ahead of Hitler. They also created Blackout Poetry style projects to reflect sections of the book.

After he arrived Wednesday evening, my family took Mr. Gross out to dinner. As you can see, he and Tara got along great!!

Tara and Fred Hot Fudge Dessert

Thursday, Mr. Gross spoke to the 7th and 8th grade students in two sessions.  Several students came up to meet Mr. Gross and buy their own copy of his book which he inscribed for them.  What a treat for my students!

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Thursday evening we held a community event from 4:30-6:30 so community members could hear Mr. Gross and meet him.  My club, CMS Ambassadors of Change was in charge, and they did a great job.  I have very responsible students who took care of anything Mr. Gross might need, videoed, brought and setup refreshments.  I’m very proud of them.  Note the back of their club shirts below…

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We had a great turn out, and although I know he was exhausted, Mr. Gross was great about staying after to keep a promise to Tara.  She had asked at supper the night before if he could teach her how to play Dreidel. She brought the Dreidels she bought at the Holocaust museum and stayed close to Mr. Gross all night with Dreidels in hand.  He did not disappoint, and we went out to eat afterward.

IMG_6913On Friday, Mr. Gross spoke to two groups of High School Students at CHS.  During the day he found out that the weather would keep him here in Corbin another night, so we invited him up to have a home cooked supper at my in laws. Again, we had a wonderful meal filled with great conversation.  I have learned so much over suppers this week! He is a fountain of knowledge, and I never get tired of listening as he graciously explains the answers to my endless questions.


Upon returning him to his hotel, my husband and I said good-bye once again and encouraged Fred (as I’m now suppose to call him -although it feels disrespectful) to come back soon and bring his wife.  I was sad to see him go, but feel so blessed to have an unbelievably unique new friend. This has indeed been the experience of a lifetime. Neither I nor my family or students will ever be the same.

Mrs. Doolin