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Rory Paul, CEO Gray Academy

High School Students Use Raoul Wallenberg Day to Engage in a Full Day of Human Rights Dialogue and Give Back to Community

MEDIA RELEASE, January 17, 2014

Last Person to See Raoul Wallenberg Alive Among Exciting Line-Up of Speakers for Gray Academy's Students


Winnipeg, MB - Today, 150 high school students from Gray Academy of Jewish Education will interact with and learn from a variety of speakers addressing the day's theme of fighting for what you believe in, while raising funds and resources for Jewish Child and Family Service (JCFS). This is all a part of Gray Academy's annual student-led Raoul Wallenberg Day program; a program honouring Raoul Wallenberg's legacy by inspiring young people to be proponents of positive change. Students will meet at the Berney Theatre at 8:50am to begin the exciting full-day program which ends at 2:30pm.


A student-made video will kick off the event in the Berney Theatre, followed by a keynote discussion by Holocaust survivor Judith Weiszmann (the last person to see Wallenberg alive), interactive breakout sessions with a variety of presenters (including a Holocaust survivor who encountered Adolf Hitler), a charity drive for JCFS and a performance by Gray Academy teacher David Vamos. The afternoon will see a third breakout session and a final wrap-up at 2:30pm in Gray Academy's MPR to end the day.


"Raoul Wallenberg Day is about making our students aware of the many aspects of human rights," says Rochelle Gamliel, Gray Academy teacher and the lead staff support for planning the event. "They chose this year's topic of standing up for what you believe in because many youth feel that it can be difficult to really follow their gut despite all the peer pressure in high school to conform."


And as this year's breed of budding philanthropists collected a large number of much-needed donations for JCFS's emergency food pantry, they've created an opportunity for Winnipeggers in the community to help them with their cause. Community members are invited to add to Gray Academy's collection at the Asper Jewish Community Campus between 9am and 2pm, and make a donation (see list of items needed below and attached).


"We've been very excited to see Gray Academy's students really come through with an amazing number of donations," says Galya Lazar, grade 11 student and charity drive coordinator. "We're hoping that Winnipeggers will add to our collection, and help us spread today's message of positive change."


Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat is credited with rescuing more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews from deportation to the death camps at the risk of his own life. Wallenberg disappeared on January 17, 1945, and he is presumed to have been murdered or to have died in a Soviet prison. In 1985, Canada declared Raoul Wallenberg its first honourary citizen, and in 2001 proclaimed January 17th as Raoul Wallenberg Day to honour his courage, character, and humanity.


Gray Academy of Jewish Education is a JK - grade 12 university preparatory school that places equal value on both Jewish and general academic programs, and provides opportunities to nurture the emotional well-being and spiritual development of all students. Our vision is to provide an educational environment of academic excellence, strong Jewish values and proud citizenship.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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