Shoa can trace her interest in the Holocaust back to when she was in fifth grade, and her class read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Set in 1942, the book tells the story of a boy named Bruno whose family moves far from his home in Berlin, where Bruno meets an unlikely friend and their relationship results in devastating consequences. “Learning about the Holocaust made me wonder what makes someone think they can do these horrible things to a group of people just for believing they want to believe in,” Shoa explained.
During the museum's 14-week program, Shoa and her fellow participants will
- Study about the Holocaust in Saturday classes
- Learn to serve as a tour guide at the museum
- Earn up to 40 community service hours
- Become eligible to participate in the Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program
During her first Saturday class, Shoa toured the museum, and will visit specific exhibits each week. "I know I’ll learn some things I didn’t know about the holocaust, like about some of the victims you don’t necessarily learn about in class. It will be more in-depth and I'll have a better connection to what happened to the victims and different countries' perspectives on what was happening."
The culmination of the program includes each participant leading a tour of the museum for friends and family, demonstrating their ability to serve as a docent.
Shoa was also chosen this year to participate in a seven-week program through One World Education, based on an essay she wrote about the problem of animal poaching. As a One World Education scholar, Shoa will work to revise her essay and develop an oral presentation about her topic, which she will deliver in front of family, friends, and a panel of judges in March, competing for a $15,000 college scholarship.
Shoa is a student in IDEA's Child Development Associate course and a member of the anime club. She draws anime and writes in her free time, and would like to study computer science and design video games. Shoa is teaching herself Korean, and plans to master Arabic next.