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(COLUMBIA, MO) – Middle school and high school students are learning more about the Holocaust directly from a Holocaust survivor, thanks to a grant from the Columbia Public Schools Foundation (CPSF).

The $8,000 CPSF grant provides educational materials and film screening rights for each CPS middle and high school campus for the film “Big Sonia,” a documentary about 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski, one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors who resides in Kansas City. Students will also be able to meet and speak with Sonia herself, as well as her granddaughter, Leah Warshawski, who serves as producer and co-director of the film.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to hear and see the story of a Holocaust survivor,” said Lindsey Troutman, CPS coordinator for language arts and social studies. “The goal of the project is for students to have the opportunity to explore Sonia’s story and her message of the power of love.”

In addition to the CPS screenings, the documentary also will be shown to the public on Oct. 1, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at Battle Elementary School. The free community screening also includes Q&A with Leah Warshawski. A separate speaking engagement with Sonia will be held Oct. 3, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. at Hickman High School Auditorium. The community event is also free and open to the public.

“The Foundation is proud to bring this documentary to Columbia Public Schools so that our students can hear and learn directly from a Holocaust survivor about her story and experiences,” said Lynn Barnett, president of the CPSF board of directors. “Besides the school screenings, this grant makes the film and Sonia accessible to the community for a free event.”

“Big Sonia” has screened at 63 film festivals around the globe since Nov. 2016 and has won 18 awards to-date. More information about the documentary can be found at

The Columbia Public Schools Foundation is a private foundation established by community volunteers dedicated to the enrichment of public education through community giving. The Foundation has funded projects in every school, allocating more than $1.2 million to enhance education in the Columbia Public Schools. CPSF was founded in 1996 and has supported teachers and students for more than 22 years.

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