Students Honored in Elie Wiesel Competition

For 12 years, Norfolk Collegiate’s students have participated in the Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competition. The annual, local competition—named after Romanian-born Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel—is open to middle and high school students across Hampton Roads and is hosted by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

The contest hosts two categories―a multimedia and a written―and students select the category they wish to enter and prepare a project around the topic of the competition. Students participating in the writing portion of the competition choose one of two prompts to which to respond:

“As a concerned citizen in this global society, what suggestions do you have for your leaders, elected or not, which would inspire responsible action to correct injustices? How would you, as a knowledgeable follower or possible emerging leader, voice your concerns and take action against the injustice and hate that you have witnessed? How would you influence people not to be hateful or cruel? Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ How would you help those around you by creating positive change you want to see in society?”


“Reflect upon how you might react if your next-door neighbors were hiding a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Would you turn them in, would you keep quiet, or would you help them in their efforts to save others, EVEN if it meant risking your life or the safety of your family? How does learning about the experiences of survivors, liberators, and rescuers motivate you to deal with your own dilemmas, to formulate and follow your own ethical compass? How would you use your personal ethics to guide your choices and actions? If faced with a situation where ‘doing the right thing’ would go against your own interests, how would your personal ethics guide you?”

This year, Collegiate saw several students take special honors in the junior division portion of the competition. Those students were:

Ferris Krippendorf ’24, tied for honorable mention in the junior division for his essay, “How Young Adults Can Make a Change.”  Madeline Timmons ’24 also was a finalist in the junior essay category.

Annabelle Baccanari ’24 and Lillah Garcia ’24 were finalists in the competitive junior poetry category.

Students are typically honored at the Holocaust Remembrance Commemoration—Yom Hashoah—on at Temple Israel in Norfolk; however, this year’s in-person celebrations had to be canceled due to COVID-19.

Congratulations to all Oaks who participated in this worthy contest.