Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project

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In the fall of 1999, a rural Kansas teacher encouraged three students to work on a year-long National History Day project which would, among other things, extend the boundaries of the classroom to families in the community, contribute to history learning, teach respect and tolerance, and meet their classroom motto, “He who changes one person, changes the world entire.”

Two ninth graders, Megan Stewart, Elizabeth Cambers, and an eleventh grader, Sabrina Coons, accepted the challenge and decided to enter their project in the National History Day program (eventually a number of other students were added to the project). The teacher showed them a short clipping from a March 1994 issue of News and World Report, which said, "Irena Sendler saved many children and adults from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942." The teacher, Norm Conard, told the girls the article might be a typographical error, since he had not heard of this woman or story. The students began their research and looked for primary and secondary sources throughout the year.

This project forever changed the lives of everyone involved. The following documentary is the Kansas side of the story. K-State College of Education graduate Sabrina Murphy shares in her experiences with Norm Conard and project member Megan Felt.

Watch the full documentary:

Life in a Jar

The Irena Sendler Project

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project transcript (TXT)