HHREC Hosts Student Contest to Promote Genocide Awareness

Pictured (L to R):
Greenwich High School 9th Grade Student Award Winners Lorenzo Pugliese, Benjamin Adovasio, Maya Antipov
Photo credits: Courtney Hawes, Kathleen Mendez, Innovation Lab Humanities Teachers, Greenwich High School)

The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center (HHREC) recently held their annual Genocide Awareness Student Contest in commemoration of April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention month. This event invited students to create an original project in visual arts, poetry, music, or other media of artistic expression that commemorates an aspect of a genocide which occurred in the 20th or 21st century.

HHREC received 70 projects from eight different schools, including 3 from outside the Westchester County area – Rotolo Middle School in Illinois, Greenwich High School in Connecticut and South Kamloops Secondary School in British Columbia, Canada.

Schools participating in Westchester included Byram Hills High School, Horace Greeley High School, New Rochelle High School, Somers High School and Valhalla High School.

Winning entries for the HHREC 2022 Genocide Awareness Month Student Contest were awarded by grade level in four categories as follows:  

Grades 7 & 8:

  • First Place was presented to William Hampson, Rotolo Middle School, Batavia, Illinois, for Original Art “Targeted” meant to represent the innocent people targeted during the Cambodian Genocide.
  • Second Place was presented to Charlotte Johansen, Rotolo Middle School, Batavia, Illinois, for Original Art “The Pink Triangle” depicting the LGBTQ community targeted by Hitler during the Holocaust.
  • Third Place was presented to Kaia Olberg, Rotolo Middle School, Batavia, Illinois, for Original Art and Poem “Holodomor: We Will Remember” depicting the Ukrainian Famine of the 1930s.
  • Honorable Mention was presented to Jane Lishamer, Rotolo Middle School, Batavia Illinois, for Original Art “1.5 Million” memorializing the Cambodians killed by Pol Pot in the 1970s; Evan Bonnet, Rotolo Middle School, Batavia, Illinois, for Original Sculpture “Persistence and Strength” of a hand symbolizing how the Tutsis reached out to the world for help during the Rwandan Genocide but none came; and Lily Enos, Rotolo Middle School, Batavia, Illinois, for Original Art “The Pink List” using rainbow stripes and symbols to represent homosexuals killed during the Holocaust.

Grade 9

  • First Place was presented to Maya Antipov, Greenwich High School, for Original Art “Left Behind” commemorating the victims of the war in Syria.
  • Second Place was presented to Benjamin Adovasio, Greenwich High School for Original Art Display “The Ukrainian Conflict Memorial” commemorating the current atrocities taking place in Ukraine.
  • Third Place was presented to Sasha Peterson, Greenwich High School, for Original Art “The Hidden Genocide” depicting the Rohingya minority targeted by the government of Myanmar.
  • Honorable Mention was presented to Lorenzo Pugliese, Greenwich High School, for “The Uyghurs” a video depicting genocidal actions currently being taken by the Chinese government against this ethnic minority.

Grade 10

  • First Place was presented to Arianna Garcia, Byram Hills High School, for Original Art “The Price of Uyghur Labor” depicting the actions of the Chinese government against the Uyghurs.
  • Second Place was presented to Olivia Sherman, Somers High School, for Original Art “Auto-Genocide” memorializing the Victims of the Cambodian Genocide.
  • Third Place was presented to Tori Suarez, Somers High School, for Original Art “A Woman’s Perseverance” memorializing the women of Darfur, Sudan who have been victims of sexual assault and torture.
  • Honorable Mention was presented to Eileen Weisner, New Rochelle High School, for Original Poem “Is There a Choice” inspired by Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night; Jackson Forsberg, Somers High School, for Original Poem, “It Should Not Be This Way” memorializing the victims of the Bosnian Genocide; and Mia Vieira, Horace Greeley High School, for Original Poem, “Preservation” commemorating the female victims of the Holocaust.

Grades 11 & 12

  • First Place was presented to Claire Nevin, South Kamloops Secondary School, British Columbia, Canada for Original Art “Hope and Despair” depicting the butterfly which was a meaningful symbol to the people impacted by the Srebrenica Massacre during the Bosnian Genocide.
  • Second Place was presented to Ash Bruce, South Kamloops Secondary School, British Columbia, Canada, for Original Painting “We Were Children” depicting the ongoing indigenous genocide in Canada.
  • Third Place was presented to Carly Orozco, South Kamloops Secondary School, British Columbia, Canada, for Original Poem/Art Display “Share the Stories As We Must Not Forget” commemorating the Holodomor.
  • Honorable Mention was presented to Katie Chong, Valhalla High School, for Original Poem “Bashert” Meant to Be”, documenting the life of a Holocaust survivor.

“It is extremely important for young people to learn about genocide, which has been perpetrated at least as long as humans have been recording history” said Julie Scallero, Co-Director of Education at HHREC. She added “The HHREC believes this project provides students a unique opportunity to raise awareness about a genocide, and remember those who were lost as a result. All of the projects we received reflected originality, creativity and authenticity. We were very pleased and honored to have local, regional, national and international participation this year, and look forward to extending our program even more next year.”

Photo credit: Mia Antipov Project- First Prize – Grade 9

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