(CLEVELAND, OH) – The Maltz Museum is proud to announce the 2023 winners of the 15th Annual Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out & Youth Sing Out Contest. The contest annually awards $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to middle and high school upstanders speaking out against bias and bigotry through essay writing and songwriting. Winners were announced during an online awards ceremony on April 19 at 7:00pm with over 1,200 registrants.

The Stop the Hate contest has two components: Youth Speak Out, essay writing for individual students, and Youth Sing Out, songwriting for classrooms. Both celebrate Northeast Ohio upstanders in grades six through twelve who are committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society.

Since the contest began 15 years ago, the Maltz Museum has awarded $1.5 million to students, teachers, and schools across twelve Northeast Ohio counties, with an estimated reach of 50,000 young people.

Visit the Maltz Museum’s website to read the emotional and inspiring essays as well as listen to the empowering songs penned by Northeast Ohio students:

Gianna Miller, a 12th grader at Rocky River High School, was named grand prize winner of the essay contest. In her essay, she wrote about the importance of destigmatizing addiction, saying:

Although I grew up in a neighborhood where my situation was unique, as I get older I realize that there are many other children who grow up having to suffer the consequences of their parents’ addiction… In situations like this, it is important to shine a light on the reality of the circumstances for everyone involved, in order for addiction to become destigmatized.

Read Gianna’s full essay, along with those of the other remarkable top ten finalists, here:

2023 Youth Speak Out 11th-12th Grade Winners

Youth Speak Out Grand Prize Winner

Gianna Miller, Grade 12, Rocky River High School
($20,000 scholarship; $5000 to school)

Youth Speak Out First Runner-up

Misa Huls, Grade 12, Avon Lake High School
($10,000 scholarship; $2000 to school)

Youth Speak Out Second Runner-up

Naomi Glass, Grade 12, Green High School

($5,000 scholarship; $2000 to school)

Youth Speak Out Honorable Mentions
($500 cash prize)

Diya Chaterpal, Grade 11, Rhodes College and Career Academy
Carmen Cicerini, Grade 12, Hawken School
Avelyn Cleary, Grade 11, Lakewood High School
Simone Davis, Grade 11, Solon High School
Gabryella Glenn, Grade 11, Rhodes College and Career Academy
Myla Miller, Grade 12, Berea-Midpark High School
Aditi Sanghavi, Grade 12, Aurora High School

2023 Youth Speak Out 6–10th Grade Winners
(1st place receives $400 cash prize; 2nd place receives $100 cash prize)

10th grade
First Place: Ezra Ellenbogen, Shaker Heights High School
Second Place: Kyle Carroll, Hudson High School

9th grade
First Place: Isabella Swol, Hawken School

Second Place: Katie Smith, Firelands High School

8th grade
First Place: Annaya Jain, Beachwood Middle School
Second Place: Ritika Iyer, Beachwood Middle School

7th grade
First Place: Olivia Piazza, Learwood Middle
Second Place: Tia Tian, Hathaway Brown 

6th grade
First Place: Grace Claassen, Hudson Middle
Second Place: Stella Sipos, Hudson Middle

2023 Youth Sing Out Winners
(1st place schools receive a $3,500 Anti-Bias Education Grant, Runner-up schools receive a $2,000 Anti-Bias Education Grant)

High Schools
First Place: “Where Does the Fault Lie?” Mayfield High School

Written by Kari Beery’s 6th Period Class with Teaching Artist Taylor Lamborn

Runner-Up: “Life is Full of Color” Midview High School

Written by William Lawton’s 1st Period Class with Teaching Artist Ray Flanagan

Middle Schools

First Place: “Harmony” Milkovich Middle School

Written by Mary Matisak’s 5th Period, 3rd Quarter Class with Teaching Artist Esther Fitz

Runner-Up: “Respect is a Two-Way Street” Newton D. Baker School of Arts

Tamara Blair’s 7th Grade, 1st Period Class with Teaching Artist Bethany Svoboda

Winning songs may be heard at

2022/2023 Stop the Hate Schools of the Year

Together with its partners, Lake Erie Ink, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Roots of American Music, the Maltz Museum offered free songwriting and essay writing workshops to schools and educators. These anti-bias learning tools taught history, literacy, and the arts for middle school, high school, and homeschool groups. Every school that participated in a workshop was eligible to receive anti-bias education grant money from a pool of $30,000 that is split evenly.

Congratulations to Broadway Academy at Mount Pleasant ACCEL School, Charles F. Brush High School, Cleveland Metropolitan Remote High School, Collinwood High School, Design Lab Early College High School, East Technical High School, Facing History New Tech High School, Garfield Heights High School, Garfield Middle School, GlenOak High School, Harding Middle School, Hathaway Brown, Hudson Middle School, Kimpton Middle School, Langston Middle School, Maple Heights High School, Mary McLeod Bethune School, Massillon Junior High School, Max S. Hayes High School, Mayfield High School, Messiah Lutheran Elementary, Midview High School, Milkovich Middle School, Monticello Middle School, Mound STEM School, Newton D. Baker School of Arts, Orange High School, Positive Education Program Hopewell, Rhodes School of Environmental Studies, Shaw High School, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and Twinsburg High School.

2022/2023 Stop the Hate Teachers of the Year

In addition, with its partners, the Maltz Museum named two Stop the Hate Teachers of the Year. Each received a $1,000 cash prize in recognition of their personal commitment to anti-bias education.

Congratulations to Anetra Howard of Milkovich Middle School and Laverne McLain of Max S. Hayes High School.

Our Sponsors

Stop the Hate® is made possible by the generous support of board and committee members, volunteer readers ad judges, sponsors and partners, and more. To see a complete list of the many people and organizations involved in making Stop the Hate possible, please visit the website at

The Maltz Museum is generously supported by: Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and Ohio Arts Council


Maltz Museum