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Barbara Figg wins ADL Positve Impact! award

J.K. Mullen High School social studies teacher Barb Figg received the ADL’s 2008 Positive Impact! Award for her commitment to inclusion, respect for diversity and efforts to combat bigotry.

Figg has been associated with ADL for seven years. In 2002 she participated in ADL’s bearing witness program, which provides Catholic school educators with the training and resources to teach students about the historical relationship between Jewish and Catholic communities.

The program explores the history of anti-Semitism, the role of the church during the Holocaust and strategies for teaching students about the Holocaust. In 2005, she participated in ADL’s first advanced bearing witness program, which took Catholic school educators to Israel.

“Barb is the consummate professional who is deeply committed to her students and the teaching profession,” said Paul Wieser, director of ADL’s Braun Holocaust Institute. “If you have children, you would want them in her class.”

Figg was one of the first teachers in Colorado to participate in ADL’s summer teacher institute in New York City, where she received and used a multimedia curriculum on the Holocaust. The curriculum, “echoes and reflections,” uses maps, photographs, timelines and primary source material to help students study the Holocaust.

For more than 37 years, Figg has been teaching social studies to Colorado students with an emphasis on US and world history. In her 9-12 week Holocaust course at Mullen High, she pairs her students with Israeli students through the international book-sharing project.

Loyal Darr, emissary to the project, says about Figg, “Hundreds of students at Mullen High School have benefited from her expert teaching in this area . . . Her impact on hundreds of young people has been and continues to be so great.”

Last summer, Figg was a Yad Vashem fellow and studied with experts in Israel for three weeks.

This summer she has been accepted as a US Holocaust Memorial Museum fellow.

She has co-authored a chapter in a new textbook for high school and college students, “The Call of Memory: Learning about the Holocaust through Narrative.”

“Barb shares with her students and fellow teachers not only how the lessons of the Holocaust apply to modern-day issues of bigotry, racism and hatred, but her belief that each of us has the power to change the world in which we live,” says ADL assistant director of education Tara Raju.

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