For Grace Goldman ’18, growing up in a family that is both Jewish and Catholic has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. Grace’s great grandmother, Mimi, was interned at Auschwitz when she was 22. Because her fingers at the very edge curved outward, the Germans determined she could screw munitions effectively, so her life was spared and, instead, she was sent to a work camp.
Because of her great grandmother and her heritage, Grace wanted to bring greater awareness to the startling fact that 1.5 million children were killed during the Holocaust. She recalled reading Elie Wiesel’s Night, which chronicles the experiences of Eliezer, a Jewish teenager, with his father in the German NaziAuschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps in 1944 and 1945. Highly autobiographical, the novel is required reading in all FWCD ninth-grade English classes.
In an effort to connect today’s students with an event that happened more than 70 years ago, Grace learned about The Daffodil Project
and became intent on bringing it to Fort Worth Country Day. The project’s goal is to plant 1.5 million daffodils around the world in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. The Daffodil Project empowers Holocaust education and supports children suffering in humanitarian crises throughout the world today.
The planning process involved many at the School. Grace spoke to freshman English teachers about the project, explaining how it connects to the curriculum through the students’ study of Night. She asked that time during class be carved out for the students to plant bulbs as a way to connect to Wiesel’s story. “It is important to me that there is a connection,” Grace said. “There needs to be a bigger a reason behind doing what we are doing. It felt right to tie this garden and the planting together with the study of Night.”
Grace worked closely with Am Yisrael Chai
(Atlanta), the nonprofit Holocaust Education and Awareness Organization that developed The Daffodil Project. She worked with FWCD administration for funding of this living Holocaust memorial and with DeWayne Dodgin
, Grounds Supervisor, to select an appropriate plot of land for the daffodil garden. Finally, she shared the news with her peers at an Upper School assembly.
Months and months of work comes to fruition on November 6, 7 and 8, when the freshmen and other members of the FWCD community will plant 250 bulbs using 10 bags of rich soil from Cowboy Compost in a daffodil garden outside of the Upper School facing the Field Hockey fields. A commemorative plaque will be placed in the garden, which reads:
The Daffodil Project
Resilient, bright and filled with hope, these daffodils, which return with a burst of color each spring, are part of the worldwide Living Holocaust Memorial that aspires to plant 1.5 million daffodils in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust and for children who suffer in humanitarian crises around the world today.
“How can a person … not be moved by compassion? And above all, how can anyone who remembers remain silent?” ~ Elie Wiesel
Wiesel’s quote on the commemorative plaque about compassion and letting your voice be heard is from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1986. It's a statement that harkens to Fort Worth Country Day's focus on inclusivity and respect. Now, The Daffodil Project helps reflect FWCD's own commitment as a community to stnad up, speaking loud and clear.
It's students like Grace who are leadning that charge, like the Falcon spirit that soars here. “There is a butterfly garden in the Lower School and a Veterans garden in the Middle School. I thought it was time to have a garden in the Upper School,” Grace said. “The yellow daffodils represent the yellow stars that the Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. It also looks like the Star of David. Daffodils are also resilient and return each year.”
The planting schedule on November 6, 7 and 8 is as follows:
- Monday, November 6: 8:45 a.m., 11:05 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 7: 8:45 a.m., 11:05 a.m.
- Wednesday, November 8: 7:30 a.m. (for any faculty who would like to participate), 8:45 a.m.