WINDSOR - At 83, Beth Dutton
has witnessed many crucial moments in history.She
has seen the breach of civil and human rights first-hand, the reaction to such injustice, and the ensuing change.
This summer Dutton will be honored for sharing those experiences with high school students.Dutton, a history and civics teacher at Windsor High School, has been selected to receive an Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association for her curriculum known as "Holocaust and Resistance Studies."
The award recognizes the contributions of those whose graphic and literary creations help students understand the significance of human and civil rights.Dutton led a life of travel and activism before she started teaching at Windsor High School 20 years ago.She
taught language in Germany in 1953.It was there she
study of the Holocaust.
"They were still reeling from the impact of being occupied.You were so close to the source of everything that happened," she
spent the next 30 years studying under Holocaust historians in Poland and Israel.She
wrote a book published in 1995 titled "Night People: A Story of the Holocaust," detailing the escape and survival of Polish Jew Harry Bialor.
Every year, Dutton
invites Bialor into her
class to speak with students about his
is good at talking to kids, and there is not a hate bone in his
also wrote an essay on teaching the Holocaust titled "Tapping into the Sensitivities of Teens."She
said the title explains a lot about her
curriculum and philosophy in teaching.
"I've realized young people are very open to poetry.Then they move from the beauty of the poetry to the lives of the people who were exterminated," she
helps students get through the horrific stories by assigning them a biography of one person who went through the Holocaust.
"Instead of looking at the millions, they take just one person that they carry with them.It makes it personal and it doesn't weigh them down so much," she
extends this into her
civics classes when teaching the Bill of Rights.
"I springboard into what can happen if your government deprives you of your rights, which is what happened in Germany," she
also highlights her
experiences fighting for civil rights in this country.She
students about getting arrested for helping African Americans to vote in Mississippi in 1963.She
said their response is "Mrs.Dutton, you rock!"Her
curriculum was published by the Vermont National Education Association
in 1997 and has been made available online.
will be one of 10 teachers nationwide to receive the award at a ceremony in Orlando, Fla., on July 1.Dutton
said what touched her
most about being selected was her
"The notion that your daughter thinks as much of the work you've done is mind-blowing," she
also helped to start, and continues to facilitate, the Socially Concerned Students Group
at Windsor High School
and the Windsor Country Youth Court.
is not ready to stop teaching quite yet.She
plans to retire in 2007 at age 84.She
said though retirement gives her
more time to write, she
will miss her
"They're just beginning to know who they are and form opinions.They teach me every year.I love them," she