A trunk containing Holocaust materials that the Athens Area School District received through a grant has opened several doors for the district, history teacher Amy Cheresnowsky told school board members at a recent meeting.

High school history teachers and students, inspired by the materials in the Clara H. Isaacman Memorial Trunk, recently put together a World War II and Holocaust history display in the high school's lobby with the help of area veterans, Cheresnowsky said. The display has attracted an outpouring of community support, she said, with several local VFW chapters, veterans' organizations and history buffs loaning items to display.

The interest has also led to the upcoming presentation of Living Voices, a program chronicling the life of Anne Frank that will be presented at the high school next week.

The trunk, which came to the district through the Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council, contains classroom sets of books, videos and other educational materials, Cheresnowsky said. The trunk was named after Clara Isaacman, a Holocaust survivor, teacher and author.

Several of the school's teachers have used or plan to use the materials in the trunk, including Cheresnowsky's students, who she said will likely start reading the books over winter break.

Through a Teaching American History grant, Cheresnowsky and social studies teacher Cheryl Stropko were also able to attend a recent conference, during which they viewed the multimedia Living Voices presentation.

The program travels across the country and shows the experiences of Anne Frank through live actor performances, archival films, photographs and audience interaction, Cheresnowsky said. The presentation asks viewers to put themselves in the shoes of those who lived during the time, she said.

Cheresnowsky told the board that she and Stropko recently received funding to attend another conference in Delaware in March, where they will hopefully receive more ideas for the school's social studies programs.

The trunk "has been a good opportunity," she said.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.