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Aug. 18, 2022

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Battle Ground High School teacher to gain perspective during summer trip to Poland

The Columbian
Published:

BATTLE GROUND — Battle Ground High School world history teacher Amanda Fulfer is excited to join other educators from around the state on a trip to Poland in July, put together by the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle.

Fulfer says education about the Holocaust period is vital to helping students understand historical events that have occurred in the decades since. She also hopes students learn more empathy and respect for others through exposure to such a tragic time in history.

“I want them to learn history not just so that we don’t repeat it,” Fulfer said, “I want them to learn history to inform their decisions about how we treat each other.”

Despite her history-focused education, Fulfer spent most of her working life in software engineering. She pivoted to education after her oldest child brought up how good she was at helping with homework and asked whether she’d considered becoming a teacher.

Fulfer credits the pandemic-induced shift to virtual professional development for introducing her to Holocaust education. “There were so many professional development options that, normally you’d have to fly to Washington, D.C., or somewhere else to be a part of,” she said. “All of a sudden, they were online and they were free.”

She signed up for a history training program put on by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where she discovered that “there is this whole community of educators who are committed to keeping these stories alive.”

One such group is Educators for Change, a Washington state cohort of history teachers that includes the Holocaust as part of its subject material. Through that group, Fulfer learned about the 10-day trip to Poland. Given an earlier life-changing time in Southeast Asia, she jumped at the chance and was even selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship through the Holocaust Center for Humanity to help pay for the trip.

Fulfer sees her willingness to take this trip as yet another lesson for her students. “You don’t just stop learning in high school. It goes on and on.”

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