The hall at the First Armenian Church in Belmont when the interviews were taking place

Boston Students Conduct Armenian Genocide Oral History Project

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BELMONT, Mass. — On January 28, 2023, 45 local high school students from the greater Boston area took part in an Armenian Genocide Remembrance Oral History project at the First Armenian Church in Belmont. These high school students, most of whom were not Armenian, interviewed over 60 Armenians of all ages, from different churches and different parts of the Armenian community.

Interview instructions

The purpose of these interviews was to collect oral histories concerning not only the Armenian Genocide, but the way in which history is passed on from generation to generation.

Students conducting an interview

This event was organized by Jenny Staysniak, a non-Armenian history teacher from Lincoln Sudbury High School in Sudbury, Mass. She is also on the Teacher Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves.

Students conducting interviews

Staysniak is passionate about teaching her history students about the Armenian Genocide. She feels young people today have a remarkable capacity to be upstanders in the face of injustice and it is through educational experiences like this that students can be part of the story, not just the audience.

A group picture of the students

The student interviewers are now working on writing their reflections from these interviews. Staysniak and other teachers involved in the project will help compile, edit, and form a narrative that will go into a larger resource guide for potential publication. The resource guide comes at an incredibly pertinent moment in history, when states like Massachusetts are passing legislation ensuring students learn about genocide within the classroom.

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