Putting Grand Rapids on the Map

Meet Ms. Perry

Like most educators around the country, Jaymie Perry, a middle school teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Grand Rapids, Michigan is not in it for the money. Or the fame. Or even the long summer vacations. Ms. Perry believes in the value of providing students with real-world educational experiences which will advance their opportunities in life.

Jaymie Perry, middle school teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

So when she discovered the History Unfolded project this spring, she decided to make it a big part of her archival research unit. According to Ms. Perry, “Authentic research that would be helpful to others made this a real world educational opportunity that was both exciting and important.  This research allowed my students to apply their knowledge of the Shoah and serve the wider community at the same time. As a teacher this was the kind of day I strive for.”

Not Your Typical Application

Since she was unable to take all of her students to the library and archives, Ms. Perry made students apply. The response was overwhelming. Students spent a great deal of time writing why they thought they deserved to go. Some students submitted essays over a page long. Accepted students spent an entire day at the library in Grand Rapids.

(From left to right) Phillip, Mary Clare, Abby, Michaela, and Lucas. Photo by Jaymie Perry.

Meet Abigail, Mary Clare, Michaela, Phillip and Lucas

Not only did they learn how to use microfilm machine readers, but Ms. Perry's student researchers combed through both liberal and conservative papers, taking note of perspective. In the end, the Holocaust Museum greatly benefited from the research findings, and Ms. Perry’s students learned a lot through the process.


Here are some of their thoughts:

Students in the library. Photo by Jaymie Perry.
  • “The archival project was very insightful, and taught me much about Grand Rapids that I did not know and probably would have never found out.” (Michaela)
  • “I learned that most of the major events on the Shoah actually made it into our newspapers. I didn't suspect much from pre-liberations to be in the papers, but I found that Kristallnacht and Hitler's plans for the Jews was in the papers. Those were the two things that I picked up on right away but there was a lot of other stuff in there but it is too much to just list off.” (Lucas)
  • “It was interesting to see what was said about the Shoah, and how the information was inaccurate or accurate. I was able to learn more about Grand Rapids, my city, and also about our country. This was a great learning opportunity and I was glad I was able to take advantage of it.” (Abby)

Thank you Jaymie Perry, Abigail, Mary Clare, Michaela, Phillip and Lucas for partnering with us to learn more about Americans press coverage of the Holocaust.

See For Yourself

What did Jaymie Perry’s students discover? See their submissions here.