It all began 20 years ago, when an assignment from a local high school history teacher changed the lives of many people, including an unsung hero.
Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker, who risked her own life to rescue a significant number of Jewish children during WWII.
Her story was unknown to the public for 60 years until three high school students from Uniontown, Kansas uncovered its details in September of 1999 and shared Irena’s story with the world, according to a press release from the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.
Sendler died in 2008 but not before meeting the teacher and three students who discovered her story.
Twenty years ago this week, Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project was started by Uniontown High School students Elizabeth Cambers Hutton, Sabrina Coons Murphy, and Megan Stewart Felt in Norm
Conard’s high school history class, according to the press release.
Megan Felt has gone on to become the program director of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, while the former history teacher, Norm Conard, has become the executive director.
Throughout the last 20 years, the play has been performed more than 375 times with more than 50 students involved in the project.
The performances have been all across the United States, Canada, and Poland.
The www.irenasendler.org website that the students created has had more than 50 million hits, according to the press release.
The center continues the encouragement of searching for unsung heroes.
The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes is pleased to announce the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.
On September 19 from 3:30 –5:30 p.m. at the Lowell Milken Center, 1 South Main Street in Fort Scott, there will be a special book
signing for Mommy, Who Was Irena Sendler?
Even after the story became known, that emotional connection of Irena’s story continues to reach across generations, according to the press release.
Megan’s daughter, Blair, also learned a life-changing lesson from both the courage of Irena Sendler’s selfless acts and those of
her own mother’s determination to share Irena’s story, according to the press release.
The book, available in paperback for $9.95, can be purchased and signed by the author and two of the characters featured in the story, Felt and her 9-year-old daughter, Blair.
Their goal of making Irena Sendler’s story known to the world continues.
Life in a Jar: the Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer is also available during the book signing. This is the story of the students’ discovery of Irena Sendler and her efforts to save the Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Cathy Werling, the author of Mommy, Who Was Irena Sendler? is an award-winning elementary educator from Fort Scott. Her passion for helping students develop positive character traits and seek out worthy role models led to her part-time work at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.
Through her series of books, four so far, about these humble heroes, Cathy hopes to inspire elementary children to realize that they, too,
have the power every day to make a difference in the lives of those around them.
About the Lowell Milken Center
The Lowell Milken Center is a non-profit 501 c (3) that works with students and educators within a range of diverse academic disciplines, to develop projects focused on unsung heroes. Once their projects are finished, the center advocates for the student’s unsung heroes by sharing them in its’ Hall of Unsung Heroes or the center’s website so people all over the world discover their individual influence and obligation to take actions that improve the lives of others.
The Hall of Unsung Heroes is located in Southeast Kansas and showcases some of the top projects developed in collaboration with the center.