Omni Middle School Students Honor Children Who Perished in the Holocaust

Participated in year-long project with the Holocaust Learning Experience

Omni Butterfly Project, Coursey Holocaust Learning Experience

When students at the Omni Middle School in Boca Raton returned for the new school year, they were greeted by more than 300 ceramic butterflies painted in numerous colors and styles now hanging on several walls in the school’s main atrium.

The butterflies were created throughout the past school year by students as part of a year-long project offered by the School District of Palm Beach and the Holocaust Learning Experience (HLE) presented by MorseLife NEXT GENERATIONS. This project was also created in partnership with NCSY, formerly known as the National Conference of Synagogue Youth.

The colorful new additions to the school’s campus are part of The Butterfly Project in which ceramic butterflies are permanently displayed as symbols of resilience and hope, with the goal of creating 1.5 million butterflies around the world, one for each child who perished in the Holocaust.

Students received a biography of a child lost in the Holocaust with each butterfly they were given to paint. The butterflies now serve as a reminder of the lessons of the Holocaust to stand up against bigotry and hate wherever it exists.

The Butterfly mural was unveiled in June by Omni Middle School principal Nikkia Deluz, artists Dan Barnett and Denise Felice, Omni Middle School art teacher Marysalis Hernandez, and MorseLife Director of Jewish Life Rabbi Erica Rosenkranz.

“It was a truly heartfelt day,” Felice said. “What tears at the heart are the individualized butterflies made by each student which truly portray the innocence and preciousness of each individual life that was lost. We thank the HLE for taking this extra step in having the mural become part of people’s lives.”

The butterflies at Omni Middle School are among the thousands being created by the HLE with students at Palm Beach County Public Schools. Five thousand more are finding a home as part of The Gendelman Children’s Holocaust Memorial located on the MorseLife campus in West Palm Beach. The painted ceramic butterflies will flutter in the wind once attached to the bronze memorial that takes the form of a tree and rises 25 feet with a 28-foot-wide canopy.

Groups will soon be able to schedule a personalized, age-appropriate visit to The Holocaust Learning Experience featuring The Gendelman Children’s Holocaust Memorial. These visits will be led by HLE Ambassadors and children of Holocaust Survivors. The Memorial hopes to remind us of our shared humanity and inspire us to share the lessons of the past if we aspire to create a more peaceful future.

To schedule your visit call (561) 817-5477 or email

Omni Middle School Butterfly Project, Courtesy Holocaust Learning Experience