DeLaSalle Teacher Peg Hodapp Awarded 2021 Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award
April 5, 2021
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) is proud to announce the 2021 Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award recipient is DeLaSalle theology teacher Peg Hodapp. The Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award recognizes one educator who goes beyond the requirements of curriculum to teach and inspire young people about the lessons of the Holocaust.
In his nomination of Hodapp, Principal Jim Benson stated: “In Lasallian communities, educators touch hearts, stimulate minds and cultivate leadership to prepare students for life, work, and service to society. Peg Hodapp represents this idea on a daily basis as an 11th-grade teacher of Faith and Society.”
Hodapp facilitates conversations that invigorate students to reflect how each of them can explore social justice principles and how to advocate for the marginalized, understand the value of ethics in the workplace, civic community, national and global environments, and gain an appreciation for others with different religious traditions as it relates to bringing about citizens living peacefully together.
As a part of her unit on Race, Racism, Stereotypes, and Prejudices, which includes studying the Holocaust, Hodapp has hosted JCRC speakers and Holocaust survivors. Hodapp added: “I believe so strongly that our young people must be keenly aware of this atrocity in world history as well as the many other horrific injustices that have blemished our humanity. They will forge a new path to the future. I am so inspired by them, their tenacity, their worldview. They give me much hope.”
Steve Hunegs, JCRC Executive Director, added: “Ms. Hodapp’s commitment to Holocaust education follows in the tradition of Catholic-Jewish relations as established by Nostra Aetate over the past half-century. This grappling with antisemitism has led to the remarkable upward trajectory of friendship between our communities in the last half century. We see it in Ms. Hodapp’s dedication in the classroom and the ways we have partnered with you and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the years.”
The Courage to Teach Award was named in memory of Leo Weiss, z’’l. Leo believed unequivocally in the value of human life – that it is a precious gift that must be defended and cherished. Leo’s message to students was that in the face of adversity, they should remain hopeful for the future and see themselves not as victims of their circumstances, but empowered to leave their mark on this earth through hard work and compassion for others. Leo’s commitment to Holocaust education was his contribution to protecting future generations from the horrors he experienced. His legacy lives on in these students. The Leo Weiss Courage to Teach Award is generously supported by Evelyn Weiss and Mark and Heather Stesin to honor Leo’s memory.
Hodapp will be honored at the 2021/5781 Minnesota and the Dakotas Yom HaShoah Commemoration. This year’s commemoration will be held via Zoom on Thursday, April 8, with a reading of the names ceremony at 6:00 PM and the community commemorative service at 7:00 PM.