Described as a motivational, empowering and natural leader, St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School teacher Andrea Leone-Bassindale is the newest recipient of the Sharon Enkin Award.
Presented by the Hamilton Jewish Federation on April 1 at Mohawk College, the award celebrates a teacher in any discipline who has demonstrated a commitment to teaching students about the Holocaust and its important lesson for humankind.
“Over the years at St. Thomas More, Andrea has been involved in the incredible development and formation of hundreds of young people,” said Principal Sara Cannon.
“I have directly witnessed the dedication and commitment that she has demonstrated in promoting Holocaust education in our school and throughout her work and contact with teachers and students throughout the HWCDSB.”
Currently, Leone-Bassindale teaches grades 11 and 12 senior law courses, where she merges Holocaust education with curriculum to help students understand the significance of the atrocity while connecting to justice education and human rights.
“Andrea effectively teaches about the lessons of the Holocaust, through examining the importance of the Nuremberg Trials,” said Cannon.
This year, Leone-Bassindale's grade 12 class had the opportunity to attend the Holocaust Symposium at Mohawk College, where they watched the film “The Accountant of Auschwitz” recounting the 2015 criminal trial of 94-year-old Oskar Gröning, a former German SS Officer.
Following the film, the students heard from Holocaust survivor, Max Eisen, a Hungarian Jew deported to Auschwitz in the spring of 1944.
“He shared his remarkable story of courage and survival at Auschwitz with the students, personally charging the students to share his story to avoid a repeat of the horrors of the past,” said Leone-Bassindale.
“My hope is that these personal experiences will prove to be unforgettable for the students and help them develop a compassionate understanding and appreciation of the experiences of Holocaust survivors and the horrors of intolerance.”