TN Holocaust Commission Teacher Fellow Awarded Holocaust Education Grant

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Junior Membership Committee recently awarded Dyersburg Middle School educator Becky Hasselle one of the two Helen Pouch Memorial Fund Classroom grants for Tennessee for 2019. This is the second year the National Grant of $500 has been awarded to two educators in each state.

Authorized in 1938, this fund was named in memory of Helen Pouch who was the daughter of Helena R. Pouch, the first National Chair of the Junior Membership Committee in 1937 (DAR members between 18-35 years of age) and who later served as the President General of NSDAR from 1941-44. 

Originally, three $100 scholarships were awarded to the DAR schools. Eighty-one years later, Junior DAR members award more than $200,000 to the six DAR schools, a National Project, and the new Classroom Grant Award Program annually.

“Supporting education has been a primary objective of the National Society since its founding and we are excited to be able to support classrooms nationwide,” explains Candace Cain, National Vice Chair Classroom Grants. 

“DAR has many programs that have a positive impact on classrooms like our Community Classrooms.”

The grants for each state and the District of Columbia allow classroom teachers to fund a variety of projects that will have a direct impact to the students’ learning.

Hasselle’s grant proposal centered around securing Tim Lorsch, a musician and son of Holocaust survivors, to come to Dyersburg Middle School to perform the musical narrative he wrote called “The Suitcase”. Lorsch uses personal family stories of their experiences in Europe and the United States set to music, bringing history to life in a compelling way that informs the students and keeps their interest. The students will learn about a historical event and how it affected the lives of real people; however, the most valuable lesson is developing an increased understanding between people of different religions, of the consequences of racial prejudices, and improving tolerance for people who are different.

“One of the most important lessons a teacher can give her students is that of the Holocaust,” Hasselle explains. “I believe that experiences with survivors and/or their families is a critical element for exemplary history instruction.”

“We are beyond delighted to present this check to Mrs. Hasselle,” said Jimmie Walker, Key Corner DAR Regent. “Her project will be impactful as well as informative. The key mission of the DAR organization centers around historic preservation, education, and patriotism and this grant opportunity for our community addresses all three components.”