Guest Speakers Breathe Life into History

York Prep was honored in the final quarter of the school year by the presence of three individuals who are very familiar with crucial times in the world’s history. They have generously shared their experiences with Mr. Roper’s History students.


Mr. Morty Wernick, who visited on April 15, explained how he was among the G.I.s who stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, on D-Day as part of the Allies’ efforts to defeat Hitler’s war machine. Mr. Wernick later joined General George Patton’s Third Army and was involved in liberating German concentration camps. In addition to his compelling story, Mr. Wernick displayed artifacts such as his uniform and ammunition of various calibers.


Notable urban, social, and architectural historian Mr. Justin Ferate addressed Mr. Roper’s 12th Grade New York History students on April 21. Mr. Ferate was selected by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to create an updated licensing examination for prospective New York City Tour Guides. He spoke in great detail about Peter Cooper’s far-reaching impact, the Chinese migration to New York City, and the sweeping influence of architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White.


Finally, Mr. Felix Fibich told his harrowing story of the Holocaust when he addressed classes on April 22. Mr. Fibich was a young aspiring actor in his home country of Poland at the time. He described his escape from the Warsaw ghetto and his adoption as a refugee by a Russian dance company, which gave him a home and a profession and enabled him to survive the war. He even demonstrated some of the dance movements he created, all the more poignant at his age of 93.