Sixth Form College becomes First in UK to Participate in Global Memorial Project

Stoke-on-Trent students have become the first in the UK to take part in a global commemorative initiative to mark 75 years since the atrocities of the Holocaust.

As part of Holocaust Memorial Week, the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College has been honoured to join The Butterfly Project, which aims to memorialise the 1.5 million children who tragically died during Holocaust. 

Founded in America, this global movement has over 250 locations participating and aims to use lessons dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust in order to educate the general public about the dangers of hatred and bigotry, with a hope to cultivate empathy and social responsibility globally. 

A total of 36 students and staff from the Sixth Form College came together to participate in the project, each hand painting ceramic butterflies to represent children who had tragically lost their lives in this devastating event. 

Amy McKeown, Learning Support Assistant at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and organiser of this event, said:

“I was eager for the Sixth Form College to be a part of this global campaign. I am passionate about ensuring that we, as an education provider, continue to educate and raise awareness of this event. 

“So very often time passes by and we disassociate ourselves from these atrocities. I feel we have a responsibility to raise awareness and continue to educate future generations about the dangers and escalation of hatred. 

“I visited Auschwitz a few years ago and the impact it had has forever affected me, you simply cannot grasp the enormity of it.” 

Also in attendance at the event was guest speaker, Warden Paul Lewis of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Hebrew Congregation, who has dedicated his life to raising awareness, and educating the public to ensure that the events of the Holocaust are remembered for generations to come.  

Warden Lewis elaborated:

“The work that schools and colleges like the Sixth Form do to help spread knowledge and keep the memory alive is completely invaluable. 

“It’s bittersweet to think that 75 years have passed since the Holocaust, but finally we are starting to see noticeable, positive movements being made to help raise awareness.”

Since launching in 2006, The Butterfly Project has created nearly 197,000 ceramic butterflies which have been hand painted and displayed in installations around the world, and the City of Stoke-on-Trent is proud to have been able to contribute 36 of these beautiful yet powerful symbols of hope and remembrance.