Students Speak Out Against Hate

Entrants take on tough topics in Maltz Museum Contest

Cleveland, Ohio (February 23, 2010) – Bullying – sexual orientation – anti-Semitism – racism – ethnic discrimination – obesity – homelessness – strong subjects for students to tackle. How would teens and pre-teens help stop prejudice and discrimination? This year, more than 1,800 students from 65 school districts shared their solutions by entering the Maltz Museum’s Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest. Essays address a variety of issues, and offer heartfelt and innovative solutions.

Students compete for a total of $100,000 in scholarships and prizes. Finalists in grades 6-10 are listed below. Junior and senior finalists compete at an awards ceremony on March 21. The contest, in its second year, 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 scholarships (one each $50,000, $25,000 and $15,000) to an Ohio college or university; they and younger students compete for cash prizes, class visits to the Museum and resource materials for their schools. More than 3,000 entries were received in the contest’s first two years.

Essays are read and scored by more than 200 community volunteers. As one said, “The essays gave me a new insight on issues teens deal with today…it was heartening to know that students take a variety of actions to counter hate, discrimination and bigotry.” In the contest’s first two years, more than 3,000 essays have been received.

Finalists in grades 6-10 are

Grade 10: Clay McMullen, West Geauga High School; Laura Milstein, Brush High School, Lyndhurst; Hayleigh Sanders, Olmsted Falls High School

Grade 9: Tyler Gamble, Cleveland Heights High School; Seth Kubaitis, Kenston High School, Chagrin Falls; Tiairra Varner, Cleveland Heights High School

Grade 8: Holly Krampitz, Rocky River Middle School; Chidera Mgbudem, R.B. Chamberlin Middle School, Twinsburg; Anna Stanton, Rocky River Middle School

Grade 7: Lilly Makee, West Geauga Middle School; Beka Waterman, Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights; Shawn Zubek, St. Mary Byzantine School, Cleveland

Grade 6: Blaise DeRoberts, Montessori at Holy Rosary School, Cleveland; Gabrielle Goodman, North Royalton Middle School; Elizabeth Ye, Orchard Middle School, Solon

Created by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Stop The Hate: Youth Speak Out! asks students to describe an act of discrimination, reflect on their own response and write a 500-word essay with a plan of action to affect change. Essays are scored on content, writing, originality and creativity, and utilization of the theme of personal responsibility.

Junior and senior finalists advance from the first review to a panel of judges including well-known community leaders. Scholarship finalists receive public speaking training and present their essays at the March ceremony, where they are also scored on oral presentation and winners are chosen.