One Tenney eighth-grader’s reflection on the horrors and lessons learned from the Holocaust earned him an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for a private tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Nathan Pichardo, a straight-A student, won second-place honors in the Middle School Division of the 18th annual Israel Arbeiter Essay Contest. He was recognized May 5 by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston at their annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Commemoration, held at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Nathan’s essay was the result of studying the “survivor videos,” biographies and art of Jewish people who lived through the Holocaust.
Nathan read his essay May 13 before a packed crowd at the Methuen School Committee meeting held in the Methuen High Media Center.

“Israel Arbeiter, a famous Holocaust survivor, once said remembering is a way of thanking. People who survived the Holocaust teach us that even after going through something awful, they can still find good things in life,” Nathan read. “Even though the Holocaust was a big tragedy that affected many people, we can learn from it and make sure the world never forgets what happened. … In the course of the Second World War, the Nazis murdered nearly 6 million European Jews.

“(Israel) was beaten, starved and lost family members. … (He) survived the Holocaust and now he spends his life teaching others about the terrible things that happened back then. Survivor stories are real-life tales that teach us important lessons. … The Holocaust was a really sad time when lots of bad things happened because people didn’t like each other. We should never forget about it and always think about people who lived through it, like Israel Arbeiter.”

The Tenney has had a long and personal connection to Israel Arbeiter and this essay contest. When School Committee member Mary Beth Donovan Grassi was an eighth-grade ELA teacher there, “Izzy” visited the students and shared his personal story of surviving and escaping concentration camps, even rolling up his sleeve and revealing to students the number that the Nazis tattooed on his forearm as a way to de-humanize the Jews at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Tenney students have regularly taken part in this annual essay contest.

Arbeiter died in 2021 at age 96. He left behind a wife, three children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Tenney eighth-grader Nathan Pichardo’s essay on the Holocaust earned him second place in the annual Israel Arbeiter Essay Contest. Nathan is shown at the May 13 School Committee meeting flanked by (from left) Superintendent Brandi Kwong, Nathan’s dad Jonathan Pichardo and Tenney Upper School Associate Principal Paula Simone. ML photo by Melissa Fili