A history lesson they won’t soon forget | PostIndependent.com

A history lesson they won’t soon forget

Theresa Hamilton
Re-2 Director of Districtwide Services

Over a thousand pairs of eyes held tight to Joseph Kemper last week. As he moved, their eyes slowly followed and when he spoke, no one else spoke.

Kempler is a Polish Jew who at the age of 14 was captured by Nazi officers and shipped to a labor camp in Melk. His audience, which hung on every word, was the students from Rifle High School and Rifle Middle School.

Kempler, a survivor of six German concentration camps, spoke to the Rifle students about the horrors of World War II, about becoming a survivor and about conscious ” standing up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.

Childhood memories for Kempler are not like those of students today. He relayed stories of carrying heavy granite stones ” weighing twice what he did ” up long flights of stairs for days on end. He told of the crowding, the barbed wire, the hunger and the fear that he endured. When the Americans liberated his camp, Kempler was 17 years old and weighed just 60 pounds.

It was a history lesson that those Rifle students will not soon forget.


Don’t forget, Colorado Student Assessment Program testing begins for third-graders next week. It is important that students get plenty of rest and a good breakfast before heading off to school and performing their best on the CSAP.


Friday’s lunch was “shakin'” at Riverside Middle School. Shaking up the Lunchroom is a new idea that principal Sue Taylor and dean of students Diana Humphrey instituted to help students get to know each other better.

Each table was assigned a shape and as students came through the lunch line, they were handed a small construction paper likeness of one of those shapes.

Students with the same shape sat at the assigned table together. While they enjoyed lunch with new friends, staff members asked them questions about themselves.

Questions like favorite pets, what kind of music do you like, and would you rather be rich, famous or happy sparked lively conversation between the students.

“We should do this everyday,” said sixth-grader Megan Saving. “It will help us get to know people better and make more friends.”

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