CLCS learns about Rwanda genocide

Carl Wilkens

On May 24, Chautauqua Lake joined over 250 students from Chautauqua County attending a presentation by Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Wilkens’ presentation did not stop with Rwanda’s tragic history but reflected the powerful and inspiring recovery process. Among the many lessons, he shared from his experience is the transformative belief that we don’t have to be defined by what we lost or our worst choices. We can be defined by what we do with what remains – what we do next after tragedy strikes. Chautauqua Lake Social Studies teacher Leigh-Anne Hendrick organized these symposiums with her colleague, English teacher Emily Dorman. Hendrick and Dorman organized this collaboration with the Hebrew Congregation of Chautauqua’s Holocaust and Social Justice Education program and area school districts to create these powerful conversations about learning to live together, and how we can demonstrate respect, empathy, and inclusion through civic engagement.


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