Genocide survivor discusses life story

Danielle Kaye

Cambodian genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond spoke about the power of music and shared his life story with students April 13.

As a child, Chorn-Pond was forced to play music at the Khmer Rouge death camp, and is one of only 60 children to survive the camp.

He was later adopted by an American man and attended school in New Hampshire.

“I had a hard time in school. Kids called me names,” Chorn-Pond said. “They didn’t know better. They didn’t know where I was from, and it hurt.”

Students attended Chorn-Pond’s presentation in Feldman-Horn 107 during activities period.

He also visited an AP World History class and a jazz class and joined students and teachers from Francis Parker School, Pasadena Polytechnic and the Peace and Justice Academy for lunch in Feldman-Horn Gallery.

Chorn-Pond was hosted by Visual Arts Department Chair Cheri Gaulke, who will be leading a group of students to Cambodia during summer break to learn about and document the effects of the genocide 36 years after its end.

Gaulke will chaperone the tour along with along with cinematographer Jeff MacIntyre and director of Friendship Tours World Travel Alethea Tyner Paradis.

“Arn is perhaps the most well-known survivor of the genocide,” Gaulke said. “He not only has a compelling story, he created Cambodia Living Arts to preserve the arts, which were almost lost when artists, musicians and performers were targeted and murdered.”

Registration for the HW! Go’s Digital Storytelling Adventure trip to Cambodia is open on the Friendship Tours World Travel Website.

Students will be required to create a digital storytelling project upon their return.