Erin King, an Avon resident and sophomore at Magnificat High School, is a finalist in the sixth annual “Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out” essay contest sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.
The contest, entered by more than 2,500 students in grades six through 10 and 1,500 students in grades 11 and 12, encourages middle and high school students to focus attention on the corrosive effects of hatred, discrimination and intolerance while developing critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. Three finalists were chosen from each grade level, and are eligible for cash prizes to be awarded at a ceremony on March 13 at Severance Hall.
For the past six years, students were asked to describe an act of discrimination, reflect upon how they responded and put forth a plan of action to effect change. This year, students were asked to answer one of three questions in 500 or fewer words. Was there a time you witnessed an act of discrimination or
hatred toward yourself or someone else? If you responded, why did you decide to stand up, and how can you encourage your peers to do the same? If you did not respond, why not, and what changes might you make to your behavior next time?
Essay contest finalists at the junior and senior high school level are eligible for college scholarships. The winning essay will receive a $40,000 grand scholarship prize. First and second runners-up will receive $15,000 and $10,000 in scholarships, respectively. The seven honorable mentions will receive a $500 prize. In addition to student scholarships, three schools will be eligible to win $10,000 for their schools, to be used specifically toward anti-bias education. Student essays are read and scored by more than 200 community volunteers.
“We are so pleased to be a part of encouraging dialogue about ways to put an end to hate and discrimination in our schools and communities,” said Jill Rembrandt, Maltz Museum director of education and public programs. “This year, the entries for the essay contest doubled. Every student who entered should feel proud of their effort, as we at the Maltz Museum are proud to have encouraged nearly 4,000 Northeast Ohio students just this year to think and talk about what it takes to (effect) real change.”
The contest is open to public, private and home-schooled students in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit counties. This year’s essay contest is sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic, Dealer Tire, KeyBank and the Nordson Company Foundation.
Contact Cynthia Shuster-Eakin at firstname.lastname@example.org