Indian Hills Eighth Graders Meet “Big Sonia”

IHMS Meet Sonia
Shawnee Mission School District

Eighth grade students concluded their study of the Holocaust with a living history lesson from Sonia Warshawski, also known as “Big Sonia.” Sonia is one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Kansas City who speaks publicly about her wartime experience.

Prior to her visit, students watched the documentary “Big Sonia,” the story about Sonia’s experiences in concentration camps and death marches and wrote a reflection about the documentary.

Student ambassadors met Sonia in the school office and escorted her on a brief tour of the school before her presentation.

“I was honored to greet Ms. Sonia,” Emmanuel, eighth-grader said. “When I shook her hand, I could tell that she has been through things. We took her through our library where she was admiring the student art. I was touched because she loves art, maybe she would have been an artist given the opportunity.”

“Having Sonia share her story with our students in person, created a personal connection to our students’ learning which is invaluable,” noted Elyse Biggs, eighth grade English Language Arts teacher.

Sonia shared that it is important for students to hear her story.

 “I try to put some love in their hearts,” Sonia said. “I receive thousands of letters and understand it makes a difference for students to see me in person to understand the history and my story.”