Hundreds of students from area schools experienced a special lesson Monday about embracing those who are different. As YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us, they saw a performance of a unique play and heard from a former Western New Yorker and Holocaust survivor who wrote the book it's based on.
KENMORE, N.Y. — A message of tolerance and acceptance came to life on stage Monday at Mount Saint Mary Academy, in a performance of "The Blue Rose," a book published in 1974 about a girl named Jenny with developmental disabilities.
"The message is powerful and it brings out the best in children and shows them how important it is to respect one another and do whatever they can to eliminate bullying that they see around them," said Beverly Slichta-Cusick of The Blue Rose Foundation.
Maybe even more powerful was hearing from the famous author of "The Blue Rose", holocaust survivor and human rights activist Gerda Weissmann Klein - who raised her family in Kenmore and wrote the book about her neighbor.
"I hope above all, they're understanding that people who they might think are different, have a great deal to contribute to them," said Klein.
"I thought it was amazing, she is such an inspiration and she's such a wonderful person," said Marisa Dell'Isola, a student at Mount St. Mary Academy.
Students say the play gives a different perspective of bullying.
"Especially in the part where Jenny has to ask her mother why children are making fun of her, I think that should move people to the point where they understand that it's not right," said Caitlyn Leong, another student.
While sharing some of her experiences, Klein said the lessons of the Holocaust are more important now than ever before.
"The Holocaust still portrays what is unfortunately still happening around the world, all born out of ignorance, prejudice and all those things which spouts so much pain and loss," said Klein.
And students say the lessons they learned in the auditorium Monday will stay with them.
"Just because something is different doesn't mean that it's wrong," said Leong.
The Blue Rose will be performed for the public Tuesday night at 7 pm at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore. For more information, click here.