MIHS Holocaust Education Committee presents The Daffodil Project

Member said the project is more important and relevant than ever.

Junior Parker Friedman said the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) Holocaust Education Committee’s presentation of The Daffodil Project at Northwood Elementary School on Nov. 1 is more relevant and critical than ever during times of war in the Middle East.

“There has definitely been a huge rise in antisemitism around the world recently amid the conflict in Israel,” said Friedman, one of the committee’s co-presidents.

Committee members — which also included senior president Macy Poll and junior co-presidents Ayden Nov and Jordan Youseffnia — centered their presentation on educating the fourth- and fifth-graders about the Holocaust and coming together to remember the past and learn from those tragedies. Later, the high-schoolers joined the younger set to plant daffodils on the Northwood campus.

Friedman noted that the curious-minded students asked questions about the conflict during the presentation.

“We were able to tie (the conflict) directly back to what we were teaching about how prejudice and stereotypes towards certain groups of people are wrong, and how we can handle it, and how we are upstanders in our community,” Friedman said.

Poll said that during the amazing project — which is an international movement — people plant 1.5 million daffodils in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust and in support for children who continue to suffer in humanitarian crises and genocides around the world today. In a previous Reporter story, MIHS graduate and former committee president Devon Benaroya said that people can be resilient, just like the daffodils.

“As a committee, we aspire to teach elementary students the importance of inclusion and the dangers of hate/prejudice,” Poll said of the ultra vital project. “Hate crimes and crimes against humanity continue to plague our society and our world. We hope that the daffodils serve as a beacon of hope and a constant reminder to stand up in the face of injustice and hatred.”

Nov echoed Friedman’s sentiments about the Northwood students stepping up and inquiring about the Holocaust during the presentation and further discussing the tragedy come daffodil planting time.

“They were curious in the most respectful way possible, which was incredible to see, especially in elementary school students,” Nov said. “A lot of them were also confused as to why and how one specific group could be targeted just because of the way they were born, which definitely highlights progression toward less hate in future generations.”

Youseffnia joined the committee in order to take an active stand against small- and large-scale antisemitism.

“It is an issue close to home, given Mercer Island’s history with casual antisemitism, which only left me feeling a greater sense of pride in becoming involved,” Youseffnia said.

After attending The Daffodil Project presentation, Tracy Hatt, Northwood fifth-grade teacher, noted: “I was so impressed with the professionalism of the presenters. They were extremely knowledgeable and responded to the students’ questions and comments beautifully.”