MY NAME is Hannah McGinnes, I am 17 years old and go to Uxbridge High School sixth form.
I am currently participating in the Lessons from Auschwitz project that is run by the Holocaust Educational Trust.
As you may be aware, this is a three day project consisting of two seminars and a day visit to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, and is heavily subsidised by the Government.
Having returned from the visit last Thursday, my mother brought to my attention some comments made on an article about the project on The Times' website.
I was very disappointed to find that many people have very cynical views on the project and see it as a waste of tax-payers'money. This upset me for many reasons.
I have lived in Hayes all my life and feel that my generation are constantly being given bad press, and are seen as disrespectful and selfish.
Therefore, it is shocking that people can be so against a project that is hard evidence that there are decent teenagers in Britain and that we do care about real matters.
David Cameron has even branded the funding of the project by the Labour government as 'gimmicks'. This is simply not true.
I am sure that there is not a single student who has attended the visit who has not felt changed by the experience.
For myself,the greatest feeling I experienced there was sheer gratefulness for the fact that I could walk back out of the gates of Birkenau and return to my home and family, while those who were persecuted by the Nazis could not.
I have heard two survivors of the Holocaust speak, and both were very keen to ensure that the young generations will continue to teach the lessons that human beings can learn from the Holocaust, and I felt that this was their main purpose for taking the time to speak to students.
It would be easy for them to sit back and remain silent about their experiences, but they force themselves to remember their horrific memories every day for what they, and I, believe is a very worthwhile cause.
I also read in the comments that many people think that the project makes the Holocaust seem more important than other catastrophes of the past and even those happening today.
If anything, the project makes you think more about what is happening in both the playground of your school and the greater world.
What many people are probably not aware of is that there is a fourth part to the trip.
This is where we must pass on the lessons we have learnt in any way we feel appropriate.
Louise Harris, the other student from my school who attended the trip, and I, are leading assemblies this week to all years of our school where we will tell them about our experience.
As you can see,I am also using this opportunity to pass on my experience to the press.
If it were up to me,many more young people would be given the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, even those who think they are not interested in it, but I know that this is not possible.
I do not want the hard work of the Holocaust Educational Trust to go to waste,and want students to continue to visit Auschwitz for years and years to come.
I also would like people to be more positive about the project and to understand it for what it is, instead of making cynical judgements and dismissing it as a waste of time.
HANNAH MCGINNES by email.