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Butterfly Day

By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
LJCDS paid tribute to children lost in the Holocaust by painting ceramic butterflies as part of The Butterfly Project.
On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), students from age 3 through Grade 12, plus faculty and staff, paid tribute to the 1.5 million children lost in the Holocaust and other genocides. Over 1,200 ceramic butterflies were painted on Friday, November 9, as part of The Butterfly Project, which will be permanently displayed throughout campus as a symbol of hope and resilience.
The Butterfly Project’s mission is a call to action through education, the arts and memorial making. It uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate about the dangers of hatred and bigotry and cultivates empathy and social responsibility.

The LJCDS community dedicated half a day to hosting school-wide events. Upper and Middle Schoolers paired with Lower School students in the classroom to paint butterflies. Special guests Cheryl Rattner-Price, co-founder and executive director of The Butterfly Project, and Reverend Karin Boye of Deutsche Kirche (German Church), also spoke with students and shared with them the importance of remembering and taking responsibility for our history as we seek to create a better future for all humanity. Readings about freedom and hope, and performances by the Lower, Middle and Upper School orchestra, Pine Tones, Madrigals, Basic Pitches and Upper School dancers, honored those who died in the Holocaust, empowered activism and reinforced the importance of compassion.

In Upper School world language classes, students painted words like love, hope and peace in Spanish, French and Chinese. Leading up to this event, teachers led age-appropriate discussions on empathy, ethics, acceptance, treating people with dignity, and for the older students, the Holocaust and other examples of political and ethnic violence.

For the closing ceremony, the entire school gathered together as one in the outline of a butterfly on the football field and participated in a performance. Their movements included reaching up toward the sky, symbolizing upward motion and hope; graceful sweeping arms, symbolizing the grace and beauty of a butterfly; and ended with holding the hands of their neighbor, creating connection and unity.

Butterfly Day was part of LJCDS’s Citizenship Week that included:
  • talks by Holocaust survivors Rose Schindler and Dr. Edith Eger;
  • a special appearance by North Korean refugees hosted by Liberty in North Korea;
  • and a special dinner with young political leaders from India and South Asian professional fellows to celebrate Diwali.

The Center for Excellence in Citizenship spearheaded the school-wide initiative, and events of the day were made possible by the generous donation from the Church family (Jeff and Linda, Nina ’12, Josh ’13, Rachel ’16 and Jacob ’17). The Nelson family (Kevin, Cindy, Shia ’29 and Sam ’24) also generously made a gift to allow future students, faculty and staff to have an opportunity to participate in this ongoing initiative and contribute to the permanent displays around campus.

Click here to read the event coverage in La Jolla Light. Visit our Instagram page to see Instagram Stories of the day or our Facebook page for more photos.


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