2021 Stop the Hate Contest Finalists Announced

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is proud to announce the 2021 cohort of Northeast Ohio students and schools competing as finalists in the 13th Annual Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out & Youth Sing Out Contest, in which middle and high school upstanders use individual essays and classroom songs to stand up and speak out against bias and bigotry. The contest annually awards $100,000 in scholarships and prizes. Winners will be announced in mid-May via the museum’s website (www.maltzmuseum.org).

Rooted in the Jewish value of respect for all humanity, the Maltz Museum is known for its excellence in using object-based learning to explore complex histories in order to better understand the present and consider a more inclusive future. Connecting with young audiences is at the heart of this work.

The Stop the Hate contest is comprised of two components: Youth Speak Out Essay Writing for individual students and Youth Sing Out Songwriting for school classrooms. Both celebrate Northeast Ohio upstanders in grades 6 – 12 who are committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society by standing up and speaking out against bias and bigotry. Since the contest began 13 years ago, the Maltz Museum has awarded $1.3 million to students and schools in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio, with an estimated reach of nearly 40,000 young people.  

To recognize educators who are Stop the Hate advocates and allies for their students and in the classroom, the Maltz Museum has introduced a new award this year. Two educators will be named “Stop the Hate Educator of the Year” and receive $1,000 cash prize. Winners will be announced in mid-May.

Top 20 Finalists for 2020 Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out

This year, 1,500 individual student entered essays into the Youth Speak Out contest. Through a rigorous judging process that includes over 400 volunteer readers in Ohio and beyond, 20 finalists have been named. Finalists are divided into two categories: 6th – 10th grade and 11th & 12th grade. The 11th and 12th graders are competing for the grand prize of a $20,000 college scholarship. Also noteworthy, the grand prize winner’s high school receives a $5,000 anti-bias education grant to support future anti-bias programming. To see a complete list of scholarships and prizes, visit the Stop the Hate website.


  • Lillie Alsheikhtaha, Grade 12, Brush High School;
  • Madaleine Carter, Grade 11, Beaumont High School
  • Jessica Chang, Grade 12, Hathaway Brown
  • Lauren Clar, Grade 12, Beachwood High School
  • Lillian Irizarry, Grade 11, Beaumont High School ;
  • AJ Shorts, Grade 12, Brush High School
  • Kynnedy Smith, Grade 12, Hawken High School
  • Thomas Smyers, Grade 12, Shaker Heights High School
  • Khadija Top, Grade 12, Beaumont High School
  • Bowen Zhang, Grade 11, Beachwood High School


Grade 6

  • Calayla Holmes, Homeschooled
  • Hayden Lipinski, Hudson Middle School

Grade 7

  • Anthony Fritzgerald Jr., Saint Paschal Baylon School
  • Anshul Sharma, Ballard Brady Middle School

Grade 8

  • Shreya Chellu, Beachwood Middle School
  • Sharbel Harb, Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School

Grade 9

  • Margaret Anne Hustak, Holy Name High School
  • Rafaela Nurieva, Mayfield High School

Grade 10

  • Annel Hodges, Cleveland Central Catholic High School
  • Elizabeth Huang, Shaker Heights High School

Thank you to this year’s panel of Youth Speak Out judges scoring the top ten 11th & 12th grade finalists, as follows:

Greer Gibbons, Project Manager, The Lubrizol Corporation; Phyllis Seven Harris, Executive Director, The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland; Eduardo Kim, Partner, Thompson Hine; Gregg Levine, Consultant, Ratliff & Taylor; Monyka Price, Chief of Education, City of Cleveland; and, Cecilia H. Render, Executive Director, Nordson Corporation Foundation.

2021 Stop the Hate® Youth Sing Out Finalists

This year, 700+ students from 35 classrooms penned original songs to be entered into the Youth Sing Out contest. A panel of musical experts judged the song lyrics to determine the following finalists, in the middle and high school categories. Songs can be heard by visiting the Maltz Museum’s website. 


  • Stand Up and Talk About It, Written by Andrea Soncina’s Grade 7 Class, Harding Middle School, Performed by Ray Flanagan
  • Stand Up, Work Together, Cheer Up, Written by Andrea Soncina’s Grade 8 Class, Garfield Middle School, Performed by Sam Hooper
  • The Flames of Hate, Written by Andrea Soncina’s Grade 7 Class, Garfield Middle School, Performed by Sam Hooper
  • What Kind of Future?, Written by Tamara Blair’s Grade 8 Class, Newton D. Baker School of Arts, Performed by Ray Flanagan
  • When You See Us, Written by Renee Ritter’s Grade 7 Class, Luis Munoz Marin School, Performed by Kyle Kidd


  • Daybreak, Written by Kari Beery’s 8th Period Class, Mayfield High School, Performed by Bethany Svoboda
  • Down the Line, Written by Dr. Donna Feldman’s 3rd Period Class, Cleveland Heights High School, Performed by Charlie Mosbrook
  • Fight On and See, Laverne McLain’s 2nd Period Class, Max S. Hayes High School, Performed by Kyle Kidd
  • Love Wins, Written by Lawton & Lundgard’s 6th Period Class, Midview High School, Performed by Brent Kirby
  • Our Pain, Laverne McLain’s 4th Period Class, Max S. Hayes High School, Performed by Charlie Mosbrook
  • Peace Amor, Written by Keri Waring’s Class, International Newcomers Academy, Performed by Charlie Mosbrook

Thank you to this year’s panel of Youth Sing Out judges, as follows: Taylor Barnes, Director of Resource Development, YWCA of Greater Cleveland; Joe Butler, Manager of Education, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Edward P. Gallagher, MT-BC – Director of Education, The Beck Center for the Arts; Jeff Niesel, Music Editor, Cleveland Scene; Christelle Saint – Fleur, Community Outreach Manager, Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.

By the Numbers

The Maltz Museum wishes to thank its partners Lake Erie Ink, Roots of American Music, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for helping create this year’s new digital learning tools and delivering Stop the Hate writing workshops into Northeast Ohio classrooms. With additional thanks to educators and mentors for accessing the new Stop the Hate recommended reading list, the learning guide, and digital tour.

Together with its partners, the Maltz Museum delivered anti-bias education to the classrooms of 3,000 young people through Stop the Hate workshops and received upstander essays from 1,500 6th – 12th grade students. An estimated 4,000 students participated in the Stop the Hate digital tour and 300 educators and mentors downloaded the Stop the Hate learning guide. In total, the Stop the Hate program exceeded expectations with an estimated 8,800 student and educator touch points in 2021.   

More information about these resources, can be found online at www.maltzmuseum.org/learn

Announcement of Stop the Hate winners will occur in mid-May on the Maltz Museum’s website, where visitors can also read the emotional and inspiring essays as well as listen to the empowering songs penned by Northeast Ohio students.

To be notified when winners are announced, register online at www.maltzmuseum.org/sth