“My Heart in a Suitcase” theatrical performance at Warwick

Career Fair at John Beck Elementary
August 1, 2019

What do a CNC milling machine, a polymerase chain reactor, and a play about the Holocaust have in common?

These are just three difference-makers in the educational culture that sets Warwick schools apart. Three extra opportunities for learning enrichment funded by the Warwick Education Foundation.

Families are drawn to Warwick in part because of its STEM programs. Compared to other county schools, “Warwick definitely has the edge because we have the technology we’re able to acquire through the Warwick Education Foundation,” says Martin Meier, lead technology instructor at Warwick High.

But the great richness and diversity of a full-spectrum STEAM experience also attracts families to the district.

 “Before I came to Warwick, I knew absolutely nothing about this. ”

For Kaitlin Kindle, watching a live performance of “My Heart in a Suitcase” at the middle school was a new and powerful experience for the seventh grader.

The play, which personalizes the Nazi discrimination against the Jews,
is based on a poignant memoir by the late Anne Fox. It dramatizes a horrific turning point in the life of a 12-year-old Jewish girl. As threats mount on the Jews, she’s forced to tear herself away from her family in Berlin and flee to England so she can escape the Holocaust.

The audience “might have thought the play was harsh,” Kaitlin says. “But it showed how people were living back then and the reality the Jewish community suffered. Like when she and her father were getting stares because they had to wear the Star of David…”

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Kids need to understand.

Thank you so much for having “My Heart in a Suitcase” come to my school.

Kaitlin Kindle

STUDENT

From discrimination to extermination.

Before her family moved to the school district, “I knew absolutely nothing about this. The play is definitely a good representation of what was going on in the 1930s, and I feel there needs to be needs to be more widespread knowledge of it.”

But Kaitlin didn’t come to the performance unprepared. In a Warwick Language Arts course, she’d “read the diary of Anne Frank and learned all the background about the war.” Including the frightening path that can start with discrimination but end with extermination, whether in Nazi death camps or the American South after Reconstruction. The play reminded her “how discrimination from that time still shows up—racial discrimination, sexual discrimination—and how real it is today.”

Not just mind-expanding but heart-stretching.

The professional production was made possible by a grant from the Warwick Education Foundation. A grant you helped fund. So the impact on Kaitlin and the other students—making them feel as a way to make them think—is a direct impact of your giving.

“I liked how real it was,” she says. “Thank you so much for having ‘My Heart in a Suitcase’ come to my school.”

I liked how real the play was. People might say it was harsh, but is showed how people were living back then and the reality the Jewish community suffered. Like when she and her father were getting stares because they had to wear the Star of David.

Kaitlin Kindle

STUDENT