More than 1500 juniors and seniors from seven counties shared their solutions to stop hatred by entering the sixth annual Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest created by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Now ten juniors and seniors will compete for a total of $100,000 in scholarships and prizes. Their essays address a variety of issues from racism to handicapped accessibility and gang violence.
The 2014 Stop the Hate Scholarship Finalists are:
Justin Bachman Solon High School – 11th grade
Anja Block Shaker Heights High School – 12th grade
Janessa Brickman Holy Name High School – 12th grade
Chane’l Collins Glenville High School – 12th grade
Randall Gregory Beaumont School – 12th grade
Jessica Hartig Solon High School – 11th grade
Madison Jackson Solon High School – 11th grade
Anjali Mansinghani Walsh Jesuit High School – 12th grade
Brandon McGhee Charles F. Brush High School – 12th grade
Andrew Poll Shaker Heights High School – 12th grade
All essays submitted were read and scored by more than 200 community volunteers. The 10 finalists were narrowed down from 25 semi-finalists after a panel of select judges read their essays. Judges this year include executive director of Gay Games 9 Thomas Nobbe, civil rights attorney Sandhya Gupta and 2013 Stop the Hate grand scholarship winner Annie Robinson.
The junior or senior with the winning essay will receive a $40,000 Grand Scholarship Prize at the awards ceremony on March 13 at Severance Hall. First and second runners-up will receive a $15,000 and $10,000 scholarship respectively; and seven honorable mentions will receive a $500 cash prize. In addition to student scholarships, three schools will be eligible to win $10,000, to be used specifically toward anti-bias education. The three prize-winning schools will be:
- The school with the grand prize winning entry
- The school with the highest percentage of student entries
- One of 8 CMSD schools chosen to participate in Stop the Hate: Youth Sing Out
Jill Rembrandt, Maltz Museum Director of Education and Public Programs, states that “the volume of essays this year and their wide-ranging subject matter demonstrates the need for an outlet for students to address issues of hate and discrimination. The students of Northeast Ohio are showing their willingness to stand up and become allies to their peers in order to make schools feel safe and inclusive for everybody. The Maltz Museum is proud to provide that outlet and take an active role in making real change in promoting diversity and tolerance in Northeast Ohio.”
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 affect change. This year, students in grades 6 – 12 were asked to write in 500 words or less about one of the following themes:
- A time you witnessed an act of discrimination or hate toward yourself or someone else
- If you responded, why did you decide to stand up? How can you encourage your peers to do the same?
- If you didn’t respond, why not and what changes might you make to your behavior next time?