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Rory Paul, Head of school and CEO Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education

High School Students Devote Full Day to Raising Awareness about Human Rights Issues on Raoul Wallenberg Day

Gray Academy of Jewish Education, January 17, 2013

One Student’s Illiteracy-Fighting Charity to Benefit from Today’s Fundraising Initiative at Gray Academy

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 free speech and expression, while raising funds and resources for two local charities; one of which was started by grade 10 student, Emily Kroft. 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.

A student-made video will kick off the event, followed by a panel discussion with successful locals, interactive breakout sessions with a variety of presenters (including a Holocaust survivor who encountered Adolf Hitler), two fundraising drives and a performance by spoken word artist Nereo II. The afternoon will see a third breakout session and a discussion about free speech and the media from 103.1 Virgin Radio’s Ace Burpee 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 freedom of speech and expression in the media because many youth feel that they do not have a voice in a world full of adults.”

And this year’s breed of philanthropists are hoping to give people a voice through literacy as they host two fundraisers for two separate charities: one a toonie lunch to raise money for Words for Hope, a charity created by grade 10 student Emily Kroft to increase literacy in inner-city schools; and the second, a book drive for Share the Magic which provides libraries for Manitoba families and communities with limited literary resources. 

“We hope that this day will enlighten our students about the rights of freedom of speech and expression; and that we must always work towards keeping these freedoms in all walks of life,” says Yona Lazar, a grade 12 student at Gray Academy and student organizer. ”We are so lucky to live in a country that has freedom of expression. We want to exercise that freedom by giving others resources that keep them informed and confident.”

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.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Ashley Morgan        
Coordinator of Marketing & Communications  
Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education   
[email protected]

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