Students Honored in Holocaust Art and Writing Contests

"From Hate to Hope: The impact of the Holocaust Today."

That was this year's prompt given to students participating in the annual Lydia May Memorial Holocaust Writing contest and Max May Memorial Holocaust Art contest. Five CJ students received awards in the art contest and six students received awards in the writing contest. The winners were:

  • Chloe Crabb '18, Honorable Mention, Division II Art
  • Natalie Davis '18, Best in Show, Division II Art
  • Rylie Meyer '18, Honorable Mention, Division II Art
  • Carolyn Moore '18, First Place, Division II Art
  • Trevor Sweat '19, Third Place, Division II Art
  • Matt Allaire '16, Third Place, Division II Writing 
  • Tim Menker '16, Second Place, Division II Prose/Poetry
  • Davida Okyere-Fosu '16, Third Place, Division II Prose/Poetry
  • Elizabeth Perry '16, Honorable Mention, Division II Writing
  • Morgan Rogers '16, First Place, Division II Writing
  • Thomas Wilimitis '16, Second Place, Division II Writing

"I had my Art 2, 3 and Honors 4 students participate in this contest and I'm proud of all of them," said art teacher Kaye Carlile.

"As always, I am proud of the students' work and their accomplishments," agreed English teacher Jim Brooks. "They never know what they can do until they try, and sure enough, we had another banner year in this annual contest.  The Holocaust ended 71 years ago, but our students made this horrible event relevant for today and connected it to other terrible events in our century."

On Sunday, May 1, students attended an awards ceremony to be recognized for their accomplishments.

"The awards ceremony itself was unique because it was not just our awards, but a whole service dedicated to the remembrance of the lives lost in the Holocaust and the hope for the future," explained Menker. "There were songs sung and Holocaust survivors spoke. The awards themselves were only a small part of the ceremony."

"The Art and Writing Awards were part of the Yom HaShoah Observance, a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust," added Davis. "They passed out rocks for us to hold and told the story of how it is Jewish tradition to leave rocks on the graves of loved ones who have passed.  The thought is that flowers will die but rocks will not.

"There were two survivors who spoke," Davis continued. "My favorite was Sam Heider.  He sang a song in Yiddish that he wrote while in the concentration camp. Even though I could not understand the words, I could feel his emotion."  

Carlile noted that while her students created artwork for the Max May Memorial Holocaust Art contest, she also encouraged them to write explanations of their art pieces.

"Each writing astonished me with their attention to the topic and their art - and their writing abilities," Carlile said. "CJ has a great English Department."

"I got to speak to one of the judges and he said that there wasn't a dry eye after reading my explanation that went with my art," reflected Davis.  "I also felt very honored because the Best in Show award is not given out every year and I was very proud of the award I was given."

Menker said he was also grateful to receive recognition.

"I was honored," Menker shared. "I had liked my poem and I was very satisfied with how I had written it so being honored for it was just a bonus.

"I wrote a first person poem and put myself into the shoes of Jewish boy in the time during the Holocaust," Menker continued. "I took the view point that I was losing everyone around me whom I loved, including myself. I was passionate about this because the thought that even if a person survived the Holocaust, they would have almost nobody around them that they had known."

"The Jewish community in Dayton has a strong tradition of educating students on this topic and time period," added Brooks. "When students attend this powerful ceremony and receive their awards, they are addressed by Holocaust survivors who continue to make their lives a witness to 'We will never forget' and 'We will fight against all forms of prejudice and hatred.'"

Posted May 13, 2016