I am a native Floridian and I was born and raised in a small town in central Florida. I teach 7th grade Gifted and Advanced English Language Arts at Loggers’ Run Middle School in Boca Raton, Florida. My knowledge of antisemitism and the events before, during and after the Holocaust was limited, to say the least. I had and still have great difficulty in teaching the human catastrophe of the Holocaust to my students.
I learned that it’s okay not to understand how and why millions of Jews were systematically murdered. But, I also learned that it is my obligation as an educator to honor and remember those who were saved and those who were lost through my teaching. Why do I, as an African-American female teach about the Holocaust? As an educator, it is my responsibility to provide my students with the tools they need to stand up for what is right, good, and true. Showing my students that just because they are of a different race, gender, religion, or creed, does not mean that they are less of a human being. Hatred of and towards the Jewish people has always been here… With the rise of antisemitic language and attacks on Jews around the world, I must make every conscious effort to deepen my students' knowledge and understanding regarding the plight of the Jewish people before, during, and after the Holocaust. I have a purpose and a mission to change the world, one kid at a time.
Joslyn "Mandy" Corbett is the educator-director of the Harold & Judy Simon Holocaust Memorial Butterfly Garden at Loggers' Run Middle School since 2020. She is also an active Zachor Shoah Board member and a Jewish Foundation for the Righteous Alfred Lerner Fellow.