Each year, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island (JCRC-LI) organizes events to commemorate Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Holocaust survivors who share their first-hand accounts of survival are invited to attend along with New York State Senators and New York State Assembly Members. High school students throughout Long Island are also present to receive the “Students Building Bridges Award,” which recognizes their work to create a more civil society. Farmingdale High School senior Shuana Champagnie was the recipient of this prestigious award.
“The Adopt-a-Survivor program afforded my fellow peers and me with the chance to speak with Holocaust survivors and hear their impactful stories,” said Shuana Champagnie. “It was a rare and valuable experience that will remain with me forever.”
Shuana Champagnie has been a member of the Ambassadors' Club for three years and has spent countless hours volunteering in Farmingdale’s Adopt-a-Survivor program sponsored by the JCRC-LI. There, she’s interviewed Holocaust survivors, listened to their stories, and gained perspective on their experiences. Shuana will now serve as an Ambassador to keep the historical impact of the Holocaust alive.
“After four years of participating in the program, not only did I understand how important it is to learn from the past but how equally important it is to tell future generations about the past,” said Shuana Champagnie. “We can learn how to do better and not repeat those same mistakes.”
Shuana was honored for her efforts in building bridges across communities at Long Island's Holocaust Remembrance Day virtual program on Thursday, April 15. Shuana received citations from the JCRC-LI, NY State Senator Kevin Thomas, and NY State Assemblyman Steve Stern. During this program, listeners also heard from survivor Leo Ullman, who shared his remarkable story. Additionally, the JCRC recognized several other incredible students for their work in creating a more civil society.
“I am extremely proud of Shuana for her hard work and dedication to this important cause over the years,” said Farmingdale High School social studies teacher Matt Cillis. “She will now serve as an ambassador for Holocaust survivors to keep their important stories and experiences alive for future generations. Shuana is the embodiment of what it means to be a role model.”
The JCRC-LI, established in 2008, serves as the central coordinating body and resource organization for the Jewish community across Long Island. It operates as a nexus between community-based organizations, religious institutions, elected and public officials, and the private sector and works to open the lines of communication between these entities.
For more information about the Farmingdale Union Free School District, please visit the district’s website at https://www.farmingdaleschools.org and like our Facebook page: @FarmingdaleSchoolDistrict.