Usually, when a guest speaker comes to a school, the students are wowed by their stories.

However, Port Jefferson Middle School flipped the script when 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Werner Reich visited.

Students from Kayleen Everitt’s eighth grade English class synergized to create an inspiring poetic tribute for Reich.

When the speaker walked into the class, he was immediately welcomed with a warm introduction from student Kyle Johnson. Following that, students went on to read German theologian Martin Martin Niemöller’s  “First they came…” poem. But instead of just reading it, the students added their own twist by talking about issues that are impactful today.

Other students later chimed in with their own poems on survival and messages of tolerance and acceptance.

“They did an incredible job and were courageous and brave for sharing their creative work in front of the entire grade,” said Everitt. “I am most proud of their creativity, civic awareness and leadership.”

Top: Kayleen Everitt’s eighth grade class at Port Jefferson Middle School. (Photo courtesy of Port Jefferson School District.)