Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski visits KCAI

Every semester, we the faculty put together a 3-hour Mystery Project for our students. Although the timing of the Mystery Project is typically on the first Monday after Spring Break, until it's announced, the students don't know what the project is going to be - they only know that they'll have 3 hours to complete it. Every full-time faculty member takes a turn to create a Mystery Project and this spring, it was up to Assistant Professor John Ferry to put it together.

John had heard Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski speak at Hallmark several years ago when he was working there as a studio manager. What she had to say about her experiences was life-changing, impactful and unforgettable. In an effort to expose our students to Sonia's story, John reached out to Sonia's oldest daughter, Regina, who helps to coordinate Sonia's many speaking engagements. Sonia loves speaking to young people, specifically, as it is her hope to tell her story so that it is not forgotten and so that the atrocities of the Holocaust never happen again.

Sonia and her daughter, Regina, were kind enough to take some time to stop by and talk with our students yesterday. Senior Coti Meier posted about her experience in hearing Sonia speak and summarized her visit so eloquently:

"Yesterday KCAI Illustration hosted Sonia Warshawski to tell her story of how she survived the concentration camps during the Holocaust. She told some horrific accounts of what happened to her, what she saw and stressed the importance of reading history, but the most important topic of Sonia's speech was love. She said, "MOLD THEM WITH LOVE," emphasizing the importance of shaping a child's life with love. This resonated with me because she went through immense trauma at a young age, yet she is still here today to tell us to love and to put out hate. Something so simple, yet has the ability to do so much. She is an incredible woman and I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to listen to Sonia speak."

After hearing Sonia's story, we asked each student to create an image based on her story using the words CONVICTION or RESILIENCY as a springboard for their idea. Here are a few pictures from Sonia's visit as well as a few of the images that were created.

BIG THANKS to Sonia and Regina. Sonia, thank you for sharing your story. Our hearts are with you! Hats off to John Ferry, for making this happen. 

For more information about Sonia and the upcoming documentary about her experience, be sure to visit bigsonia.com

 Sonia Warshawski and Steve Mayse, Illustration Chair and Professor

Sonia Warshawski and Steve Mayse, Illustration Chair and Professor

 Sonia Warshawski and sophomore Eien Carpenter

Sonia Warshawski and sophomore Eien Carpenter

 Sonia Warshawski, her daughter Regina Kort and Assistant Professor John Ferry

Sonia Warshawski, her daughter Regina Kort and Assistant Professor John Ferry

 Sonia, telling her story to Illustration students and faculty

Sonia, telling her story to Illustration students and faculty

 Coti Meier, senior

Coti Meier, senior

 Brinnon Schaub, junior

Brinnon Schaub, junior

 MacKenzie Fulmer, sophomore

MacKenzie Fulmer, sophomore

 Steven Bolds, senior

Steven Bolds, senior

 Jack Mied, junior

Jack Mied, junior

 Allie Davenport, sophomore

Allie Davenport, sophomore

 Miles Klos, junior

Miles Klos, junior

 Emily Alvarez. junior

Emily Alvarez. junior

 Lana Hughes, sophomore

Lana Hughes, sophomore

 Claire Harlow, junior

Claire Harlow, junior

Students - if your artwork is posted here and your name isn't listed, please email me, Maura Cluthe, and I'll add your name by your image. Thanks.