Students honored in Elie Wiesel Competition

Ten Norfolk Collegiate students took home honors for their entries in the 14th Annual Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competition. Our students’ works will be on display in an exhibit at the Old Dominion University Virginia Beach Higher Education Center May 10 through May 31.  

The contest is hosted annually by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater to promote the power of the human spirit and awareness of the Holocaust. Middle and high school students are able to participate in the writing and visual arts competitions named in honor of Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor.

Jesse Mirman ’20 earned first-place honors within the junior poetry division while Ellie Robertson ’20 earned first place within the junior multimedia division with Ennass Alfahd ’20 receiving third place. Our visual arts Judges’ Choice winners include Tabitha Thornton ’20, Russell Solomon ’21, Ellie Smith ’21, Alex Thibadeau ’20, Megan Silverman ’19, Elizabeth Hughes ’20 and Anna Winn ’19.

Elizabeth earned second-place in the junior division last year with her film titled Imagine, which recollects her grandfather’s story and the story of Hans and Sofie Scholl, also Holocaust survivors. She entered the competition again this year and was among the Judges’ Choice honorees.

“I entered a sculpture in this year’s competition,” said Elizabeth. “Participating in this competition is very important to me because my grandfather fought and survived the Holocaust. The fact that there are actual stories from people who survived [the Holocaust] shows that this actually happened and it’s not a myth. There are so many different stories. I find it very interesting and inspiring, especially for people to stand up for what they think is right.”   

Collegiate students have participated in the competition for nearly 11 years.

“It was really exciting for me to win because I really like poetry,” said Jesse. “I enjoy telling others about what happened during the Holocaust.”

“This competition is important for students to remember that they have the power to make a difference and an obligation to stand up and speak out about injustice when they see it,” said Julie Hastings, middle school English teacher. “The whole contest is focused on the theme of Never Again. The process of understanding, especially for young people who weren’t even alive to understand or know how dangerous it could be, is important and knowing when to speak out about evil or hatred.”  

“Everyone is a part of this story whether they are Jewish or not. Each year, we pull in different experiences and students are just so interested. It builds awareness of an historical event and includes parents and gives students the opportunity to interview family members and other community members who may have contributed to helping people during the Holocaust,” said Hastings.

For more information about the exhibit, please click here.