Seneca Valley History Teacher Wins Honor for Holocaust Education

Article excerpt

The Holocaust is one of a handful of subjects about which Jim Lucot's history students are usually the most curious.

"A lot of them start the class with many misconceptions. They have mostly all read Anne Frank, but some of them think that hiding in that way is almost romantic," said Lucot, a history teacher at Seneca Valley High School.

Lucot, 43, was honored Tuesday as the recipient of the 2009 Robert I. Goldman Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education, which is given each year to a teacher in the United States by the New York- based Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, an organization devoted to Holocaust education that financially assists and honors non-Jews who helped save Jews during the Third Reich.

Teachers in contention for the award have attended a one-week fellowship at Columbia University sponsored by the foundation. Lucot was a fellow in the program in 2007.

Lucot received a $1,000 cash award at the foundation's annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

"He is engaged and compassionate, and he knows his history," said Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the foundation. "We recognize what a great teacher he is. He is the teacher you want for your kid."

Teaching Holocaust history is not easy, which is why Stahl said so many teachers avoid it. "It's just not simple, especially when you get into the many countries Germany occupied -- very different in almost every case. …