Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Students head to Auschwitz as part of Diversity Champions Project

FOR the fourth year running, young people from Thurrock secondary schools will go abroad for a few days — and return, changed forever.

Around 40 young people from the Harris Academy Chafford Hundred, The Grays School Media Arts College, Grays Convent High School, William Edwards School and Sports College, The Gateway Academy and Treetops School will be joined by others from Inspiration Youth Call, the Thurrock Council’s Youth Service and the Pupil Referral Unit to take part in the Thurrock Diversity Champions Project.

As part of the project they will spend time in Krakow and also visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau work and death camps in Poland leaving in the early hours of Saturday (14 January).

Everyone taking part in the project — including Cllrs Tunde Ojetola and Phil Smith — and the young people’s parents packed into the Council Chamber in the council’s Civic Offices on Friday (6 January) evening.

They have all volunteered to become Diversity Champions and to develop a borough-wide understanding of the importance of equality and diversity.

The meeting was addressed by Steve Cox, the council’s assistant chief executive. He said: “You are our champions for diversity; you are champions for Thurrock; you are champions for diversity in Thurrock.

“As our leaders of tomorrow, how you behave, how you treat people — friends, colleagues and strangers alike — is incredibly important.”

He said the diversity champions project would see secondary schools working with their feeder primaries to promote its objective of challenging inequality and opposing discrimination wherever it is found.

The inter-schools sessions started this week before the “champions” visited Poland.

Later in the month — Thursday, 26 January — there will be a presentation by the diversity champions at the Thameside Theatre, starting at 6pm.

Holocaust Day is Friday, 27 January, and there will be an hour-long service in the Memorial Garden, Grays, starting at 11am. The garden is at the junction of Palmer’s Avenue and High View Avenue.


  1. Having visited Auschwitz a couple of years ago, I think it is very good for our young people to see what happened there. I commented at the time that I thought it should form part of the school curriculum.

    It was a most moving experience and some youngsters may need strong support in certain sections, especially the area that includes items of children’s clothing from those deeply distressing times.

  2. I have always wanted to visit Auscwitz and hopefully one day I will, I agree with Gryasath that this should be combined into the curriculum.

    Unfortunatley the lessons of the genocide of the second world war have not been learnt by some world leaders and it still continues in some form today.


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