'Life-changing' journey

18:46, Feb 13 2013
hayden dawson roger van booma
HISTORIC TRIP: Timaru Girls’ High School history and social studies teacher Hayden Dawson, left, and Timaru Boys’ High head of history Roger van Booma have returned from a education trip to Israel.

Two Timaru high school teachers have returned from the "trip of a lifetime" on an educational visit to Israel.

Timaru Girls' High School history and social studies teacher Hayden Dawson and Timaru Boys' High School head of history Roger van Booma travelled with 23 fellow history teachers from around New Zealand. The group were invited to attend a two-week educational convention held at the Yad Vashem holocaust centre in Jerusalem last month.

The men sat through a "heavy" 115 hours of talks and presentations in the education centre.

Speakers included a friend of Anne Franks and a couple who met at Oskar Schindler's factory. Mr Schindler is credited with saving the lives of 1200 Jews by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories.

"It was absolutely unbelievable to meet these people," Mr Dawson said.

They also travelled around the country accompanied by guides, visiting significant historical sites.


Mr Dawson said he jumped at the chance to attend the seminar.

"It was just the chance to get to Israel to see the country and just to learn about the Holocaust."

The speakers were primarily from local universities and were world leaders in the field, he said. The trip was "the chance of a lifetime".

Mr van Booma said there was no better professional development than to "go there and study".

"Plus it's authentic for the [students]. It was life-changing, really."

The teachers were supplied with "incredible" resources to bring home to the classroom. Mr Dawson and Mr van Booma hope to develop a lesson plan around what they learnt at the convention.

The Timaru Herald