POPLAR RIDGE | The legacy of Anne Frank was bright Thursday at Southern Cayuga Central School.
The school district recently marked the one year anniversary of the planting of a chestnut sapling there that came from the tree that was seen by Frank from the attic window where her and her family hid from the Nazis during the Holocaust in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Festivities at the school Thursday included original Polish music by the Klezmer Kings, the annual Make a Difference Award, a Holocaust museum exhibit, and guest speaker Rhonda Fink-Whitman, a Holocaust education advocate and author of "94 Maidens."
The sapling, which was one of 11 brought to the United States, holds a spot of honor next to the playground of the school.
“I would really like to communicate that although it is very cool, a very high honor to have this tree, it is also a large responsibility,” English teacher Bill Simper said. “It is more important that we use this tree to educate our students on the social injustices that Anne Frank and her family faced, to communicate its importance to our future generations.”
Frank mentioned the old tree several times in her famous diary, and excerpts from the diary can be found on plaques placed next to the tree.
On loan from The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education was a traveling museum exhibit featuring drawings from Holocaust survivors that was displayed in the halls of the school.
The anniversary of the planting coincides with Anne Frank’s birthday.
She was born on June 12, 1929 and died after being captured in 1945.
“We would like to have each year’s anniversary events on the day of her birthday,” Zimpfer said.
In the weeks that led up to the anniversary of the planting, the school hosted several events dealing with the Holocaust that included movie showings, guest speakers and student artwork.