Students Recognized for Creative Work in Elie Wiesel Competition

For the past 11 years, Norfolk Collegiate’s students have been participating in the Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competition. The contest invites middle and high school students (grades 6-12) to submit writing and visual arts pieces in remembrance of the Holocaust. The competition guides students in their exploration of moral courage, the dangers of prejudice, peer pressure, unthinking obedience to authority and indifference.

This year Catherine Sarris ’22 received first place in the writing portion of the competition for her junior division poem, Bathroom Sink, and Caroline Jordan ’22 and Brady Snowden ’22 were both finalists in the poetry category, meaning their entries were chosen to be discussed among the judges in the final round—an incredible feat! “I ended up writing five drafts before I felt comfortable submitting my piece,” Catherine said.

Equally as exciting, Sophie Scholl, a drawing by Jessa Rousch ’23, won an honorable mention in the junior division of the visual arts portion of the competition. Jessa says she “just kept jumping up and down” when she found out about her win.

“Sophie Scholl and the other resistors may have opposed the Nazis over 70 years ago, but their brave actions are still relevant today, and as long as others are silenced those actions will always be relevant.” Jessa wrote of her entry. “In the end this isn’t about winning a competition it’s about recognizing those who stood up and fought for what they believed in and what they thought was right. Always pick a side and defend it.” Click here to see her entry.

Maggie Campbell ’22 and Abby Seeman ’22 teamed up to produce Kristallnacht which earned the team third-place honors in the junior multimedia division. Their video was a reflection of the ways in which the Holocaust and recent events in Charlottesville have impacted them. Watch the video here.

Student winners receive cash prizes, and classroom teachers who submit a minimum number of student entries—regardless of awards—receive a set of Holocaust-related books for their classrooms or a gift certificate for art supplies. Winners were honored and their entries shared at the annual Yom Hashoah—Holocaust Remember Day—program on April 11 at Congregation Beth El in Norfolk. Winning and notable art entries also are displayed in gallery exhibits at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Old Dominion University Virginia Beach Center, the Meyera C. Oberndorf Virginia Beach Central Library and other prominent local art venues.

To learn more about the competition, please contact Jill Archer at