By: Maria Little
“All the true heroes of history will be forgotten and all the villains will be remembered as heroes,” said Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer. There are many villains throughout history. These villains are not the ones seen in movies or comic books, these are real people who have shaped American history. Some of these villains include: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Osama bin Laden. Influential Leaders, eighth grade class, is having a villain week in which they create presentations and watch videos about the villains. Mr. Ryan Augustin, Influential Leaders teacher, said, “In the class Influential Leadership, we analyze the characteristics leaders display in gaining followers. I believe it is important to understand how the leaders we often view as villains share these same characteristics.” The class also analyzes strategies villains have taken throughout history to gain supporters and eliminate enemies.
Augustin wants to inform students about people of the past they may have heard of, but may not know the villains’ backstory. In the class, students watch videos about Hitler and the Holocaust. They also did a presentation about Stalin and a word document about bin Laden. Bin Laden was the leader of the terrorist group, Al- Qaeda, who organized the planes flying into the World Trade Centers. Augustin said, “Growing up and learning about World War ll and the Holocaust, I often wondered how people could support a person and group like Hitler and the Nazis. By studying the characteristics and actions of these villains and their movements, I believe we gain a better understanding of how this happens.” The students also had to pick their favorite fictional villain and write how they are influential. For their assignment, they had to pick certain characteristics of the villains including; passion, knowledge, and courage. Influential leaders is an informative class available to any eighth grader.