The Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree Project (SCAFTP) is proud to announce that SCAFTP Committee Chairperson and Southern Cayuga English Teacher, Bill Zimpfer, was awarded the 2018 Louis E. Yavner Teacher Award recognizing his outstanding contributions to New York State education about the Holocaust and other violations of human rights.

In 2013 the Southern Cayuga community received national attention when the Anne Frank Center USA selected it as one of only 11 sites nationwide to receive a sapling from the horse chestnut tree that Anne Frank viewed from her window while in hiding in Amsterdam.  With the support of the District’s Superintendent, Mary Kay Worth, Mr. Zimpfer wrote and submitted the proposal that brought the sapling tree to the Southern Cayuga School District. The Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree Committee was formed to ensure that the spirit of Anne Frank would live on through programming and community outreach.  The Anne Frank Tree is thriving and we are continuing our mission of educating and empowering children to promote understanding, tolerance and justice within our community and in our society as a whole.

Mr. Zimpfer has worked tirelessly to promote our mission both in school and in the community. The SCAFTP committee, let by Mr. Zimpfer, has sponsored lectures from Holocaust survivors, traveling exhibits, student art projects, field trips, community-wide reads, theater productions, films, and more.  A planting and dedication ceremony was held on June 12, 2013 (the 84th birthday of Anne Frank) at the Southern Cayuga High School.  Marion Blumenthal-Lazan, a Holocaust survivor and avid lecturer, was the keynote speaker at the largest assembly of guests ever to congregate in our auditorium, bringing together over 650 attendees.  A New York State Legislative Resolution was adopted in 2013 to commend this “pursuit of excellence in education and service to the community” and recognize the “commitment to social justice and the promotion of freedom.” Mrs. Blumenthal-Lazan was the 2008 recipient of the Louis E. Yavner Citizen Award.

The Louis E. Yavner Teacher Award was presented to Mr. Zimpfer on Tuesday, May 8th by the Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, in Albany, NY.

“The profound efforts of William Zimpfer to bring a symbolic piece of the Holocaust to his community so children and adults alike learn about this dark time in history, make him so deserving of the 2018 Yavner Award,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “In speaking of the holocaust, we often say, ‘never forget.’ Through his actions, Mr. Zimpfer brings those words to life. Because of his efforts, countless individuals have learned about the horrors of the Holocaust. Because of his efforts, we will never forget.”

“As a former social studies teacher, I know how challenging it can be to teach children about the Holocaust,” said Commissioner MaryEllen Eila. “But we have a sacred duty to teach every generation about that awful period of history, so that we never repeat the mistakes of the past. Mr. Zimpfer has embraced that responsibility.”

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