$100,000 Grand Scholarship Prize Awarded

Solon High School Student wins first annual Stop The Hate! essay contest

Beachwood, OH (March 8, 2009) – The Maltz Museum was full of excitement as the first annual Stop The Hate! Youth Speak Out $100,000 Scholarship Prize was given to Matt Soble, a 12th grade student at Solon High School. Amid much fanfare, Matt and 20 Northeast Ohio students grades 6-12 received awards at the gala event that featured inspirational remarks from Lt. Governor Lee Fisher and Museum co-founder Milton Maltz.

1,200 students from throughout seven eligible counties shared their stories. Nearly half of them were juniors and seniors eligible for the $100,000 scholarship.  The top ten finalists, who scored 90% or higher on the written essays made up less than 1% of the total essays received.  Each read his or her essay aloud for final scoring by a blue ribbon panel of judges that included Speaker of the House Armond Budish, State Representative Josh Mandel and Cleveland Indians President Paul Dolan.  The essays were personal, compelling and powerful, each describing an act of discrimination and the students’ suggestion for how to overcome hatred and bigotry.

Master of Ceremonies Jimmy Malone, radio personality from WMJI-105.7 FM kept the pace lively, and the Shaw High School Mighty Marching Cardinals and Heights A Capella Choir provided inspirational entertainment.  The sobering film HATE, seen continuously in the Maltz Museum Permanent Collection, set the stage for the important message behind the competition that we are all more alike than different, and that when we come together as human beings, we can eliminate the prejudice and misconceptions that divide us.  Video congratulations were sent by Stop The Hate essay judges who couldn’t be at the event – former Congressman Louis Stokes, Mark Shapiro (General Manager and Vice President, Cleveland Indians) and Danny Ferry (General Manager, Cleveland Cavaliers) and from Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

This contest supports the Maltz Museum mission to build bridges of tolerance and understanding of persons of all religions, races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds.  It reflects Jewish values of responsible citizenship and respect for all humanity. Participating in this activity provides students with an opportunity to strengthen problem-solving and writing skills while emphasizing empathy for others.  The Maltz scholarship will be managed by the Cleveland Scholarship Programs, a college access program that pursues educational opportunity and workforce development though counseling and financial aid for high school students.

$100,000 Scholarship Winner: Matt Soble – Senior, Solon High School

Overall Winner – $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond: Lauren M. McCafferty – Senior, Olmsted Falls High School

12th Grade Winner – $500 U.S. Savings Bond: Jane Yiyi Zhang – Oberlin High School

11th Grade Winner – $200 U.S. Savings Bond: Cassidy Artz – Junior, Hathaway Brown School

Scholarship Finalists – $100 U.S. Savings Bond: Sophie Grodsinsky – Senior, Walsh Jesuit High School, Cuyahoga Falls; Sarah Harris – Senior, Electronic Schoolroom of Tomorrow; Chelsa Lewis-Bevel – Senior, Success Tech Academy, Cleveland; Alex Port – Junior, Solon High School; Justina Wong – Senior, Independence High School; Kelly Yarber – Senior, Strongsville High School

Middle School Overall Winner – $500 U.S. Savings Bond/Highest Score of all 6-8th Grade Entries: Divya Thomas, Kenston Middle School

First Place – $200 U.S. Savings Bond/Second Place – $100 U.S. Savings Bond/6th Grade Winners:

1st Place: Divya L. Madhavan, Brecksville/Broadview Heights Middle School

2nd Place: Dina Rini, St. Mary Byzantine Catholic School

7th Grade Winners

1st Place: Becca Cain, R.B. Chamberlin Middle School

2nd Place: Lukash Kowcz, Brecksville/Broadview Heights Middle School

8th Grade Winners

1st Place: Lyssa Collins, St. Paul Lutheran School

2nd Place: Jake Amato, Holy Trinity School

9th Grade Winners

1st Place: Theodore Wilson III, The Arts Academy

2nd Place: Hannah Sellers, Kenston High School

10th Grade Winners

1st Place: Michelle Hoffman, Kenston High School

2nd Place: Alexis McNichol, Brush High School