Students From Westchester, Across the U.S. and Canada Participate in Annual HHREC Student Contest to Promote Genocide Awareness

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. HHREC 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 85 student submissions from schools located in Westchester County, New York, from around the U.S., and from Canada. The schools that participated included: John Jay High School, Katonah-Lewisboro, New York; Byram Hills High School, Armonk, New York; and Woodlands Middle/High School, Greenburgh, New York from Westchester; Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Connecticut; Union County Vocational Technical High School, New Jersey; Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, Illinois; and South Kamloops Secondary School, British Columbia, Canada.  

The Grades 7 & 8 First Place winners were: Lev Schlamann – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art, “In Memory of the Holodomor; Cailey Salzman – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art, “The Reflection” commemorating the Armenian Genocide; and Izzy Leslie – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “A Memorial for the Holodomor Genocide.”

The Grades 9 & 10 First Place winner was Renee Chin – Greenwich High School – Fairfield County, Connecticut; Original Digital Art – “Lost Identity” commemorating the Rwandan Genocide.

The Grades 11 & 12 First Place winners were: Elias McDonald – South Kamloops Secondary School – British Columbia, Canada; Original Art – “Never Seen (Again) commemorating the Indigenous People of Turtle Island; and Abigail Castellanos – Union County Vocational Technical High School, New Jersey; Original Art – “Roses of Reflection” commemorating homosexuals targeted during the Holocaust.

All projects were evaluated by the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center’s Education Department.

“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 Millie Jasper, Executive Director at HHREC. She added “We believe 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 expanding this program to include even more next year.”

For more information, including a complete list of the winners in each category, visit the HHREC website at

Student contestants from Rotolo Middle School, Batavia, Illinois.