Essay Contest Finalists Named: Grades 6 – 10

Area Students Eligible for Cash Prizes

What would you do to stop hatred and discrimination? In 2008, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage created a contest to encourage 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.


This year more than 1600 students from 7 counties shared their solutions by entering the fifth annual Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out! essay contest. Their essays address a variety of issues, from cyberbullying and racism to anti-Semitism, and LGBT issues, and offer heartfelt and innovative solutions.


Essays are read and scored by more than 200 community volunteers.  Jill Rembrandt, Maltz Museum Director of Education and Public Programs, says “I am overwhelmed not only by the passion of our teenagers who share their stories of discrimination and their action plans with us, but by the hundreds of volunteer readers and judges who take the time to read and score each essay.  Truly, we know that it is this generation of young people who will someday change the world.”


Students compete for a total of $100,000 in scholarships and prizes. Finalists in grades 6-10, announced below, will be honored along with ten junior and senior finalists (who compete for three scholarships by giving oral presentations) at an awards ceremony on May 2 at Severance Hall.


Finalists in grades 6-10 represent students from three of the seven eligible counties, and from eleven different schools.  They are:


10th GRADE

Shala Blade, Glenville High School, Cleveland

Jessica Hartig, Solon High School

Abby White, Shaker Heights High School



Nichole Shriver, Twinsburg High School

Gwenyth Szabo, Lake Ridge Academy Elementary, North Ridgeville

Apoorva Vallampati, Twinsburg High School



Soli Collins, Roxboro Middle School, Cleveland Heights

Laura DeVito, Rocky River Middle School

Kim Taylor, Rocky River Middle School



Lexee Dalgleish, Learwood Middle School, Avon Lake

Kate Kila, Miller-South Visual and Performing Arts School, Akron

Noah Rish, Learwood Middle School, Avon Lake



Owen Gaudio, St. Barnabas Elementary School, Northfield

Gabriella Nassif, St. Barnabas Elementary School, Northfield

Benjamin Yoder, Copley-Fairlawn Middle School


The contest is open to public, private, and home schooled students in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit Counties. Juniors and seniors complete for three four-year college scholarships (one each $50,000, $25,000 and $15,000); they and younger students compete for cash prizes, class visits to the Museum, and resource materials for their schools.


This year’s Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out! is sponsored by Dealer Tire, KeyBank and Cleveland Clinic.


Maltz Museum receives public support with local tax dollars from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, to preserve and enrich our region’s artistic and cultural heritage.