Student Winners Named in Maltz Museum’s Stop The Hate Contest at Awards Ceremony Held on April 3, 2024

BEACHWOOD, Ohio, April 4, 2024 – The Maltz Museum is proud to announce the winners of 2024 Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out and Youth Sing Out contest. The contest annually awards $100,000 to Northeast Ohio middle and high school students, teachers, and schools who stand up to bias and discrimination. Winners were announced during an awards ceremony on April 3 held at the Cleveland Museum of Art with nearly 450 in attendance. 

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 student upstanders in grades six through twelve who are committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society.

Speaking on the significance of the program at the award ceremony, David Schafer, Managing Director of the Maltz Museum, said: “Our students and this program teach me that while we all have work to do in fighting injustice and discrimination, our future is in good hands. The next generation can and will use their voices and actions to move us closer to a world where our differences are celebrated. They see hate for what it is, they recognize their power in stopping it, and they’re ready to take action. If that’s not inspiring—if that’s not hope for the future—I don’t know what is.” 

Since the contest started, over 50,000 students in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio have participated, and $1.6 million has been awarded to students and schools. This year, over 4,600 students at more than 100 Northeast Ohio schools participated in the Stop the Hate contest and workshops this year, writing individual essays, poems, or group songs for a chance to win prizes for themselves and their schools. 

Visit the Maltz Museum’s website to read the original essays, poems, and songs created by our inspiring Northeast Ohio students:

Zoë Schmidt, a 12th-grade student at St. Joseph Academy was named grand prize winner of the essay contest. Expressing the importance of standing up for LGBTQ+ inclusion in her school system, she wrote:

NO dancing together. NO using chosen names or pronouns. NO rainbows. Those who break these rules will be “subject to disciplinary action.” These are a few of the statements from the September 2023 Anti-LGBTQ+ policy, decreed by Bishop Edward Malesic and supported by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. 

The policy strictly prohibits any form of self-expression, education, or engagement affiliated with or in support of LGBTQ+ students or their rights… The policy moves us backward as a society and reverses all the progress we have made toward inclusivity.

After collaborating with our school’s GSA leaders, we worked for months planning a peaceful demonstration in opposition to Bishop Malesic’s harmful policy…we held signs and chanted words of encouragement for queer and trans youth as we demanded that the bishop repeal his policy. This experience has pushed me to become a vocal member in fighting for the rights and dignity of all students in my school community and Greater Cleveland as well. 

Read Zoë’s full essay, along with those of the other remarkable finalists:

2024 Youth Speak Out: Essay & Poetry Contest Winners

Youth Speak Out Essays: 11th – 12th Grade 

Grand Prize: $20,000 scholarship + $5,000 grant for their school

Zoë Schmidt, 12th Grade, St. Joseph Academy 

First Runner-Up: $10,000 scholarship + $2,000 grant for their school

Adhithiya Balamurugan, 11th Grade, Solon High School 

Second Runner Up: $5,000 scholarship + $2,000 grant for their school
Skylar Sidwell, 12th Grade, Rhodes College and Career Academy 

Honorable Mentions: ALL receive a $1,000 cash prize + a $500 grant for their schools

Abaeny Dek, 12th Grade, St Joseph Academy

Aaliyah Gundani, 12th Grade, Shaker Heights High School

Will Linson III, 12th Grade, Twinsburg High School

Gal Naveh, 12th Grade, Orange High School

Hong Bao Tran Nguyen, 12th Grade, Solon High School

Radha Pareek, 11th Grade, Beachwood High School

Helena Pearl, 12th Grade, Hudson High School

Youth Speak Out Essays: 6th – 10th Grade 

10th Grade:

First Place: $400 cash prize

Ayesha Faruki, Mentor High School

Runner Up: $100 cash prize

Elizabeth Chen, Berea-Midpark High School

9th Grade:

First Place: $400 cash prize

Zoe Klingshirn, Firelands High School

Runner Up: $100 cash prize

Sampson Parker, Garrett Morgan School of Leadership and Innovation

8th Grade:

First Place: $400 cash prize

Heeba R. Sossey Alaoui, Beachwood Middle School 

Runner Up: $100 cash prize

Simon Factora, St. Albert the Great 

7th Grade:

First Place: $400 cash prize

Rivka Pasternak, Fuchs Mizrachi School

Runner Up: $100 cash prize

Scarlet Grimm, North Ridgeville Academic Center

6th Grade:

First Place: $400 cash prize

Elizabeth Jia, Hudson Middle School 

Runner Up: $100 cash prize

Vandy Ickes, Hudson Middle School 

Youth Speak Out Poetry: High School

First Place: $3,500 cash prize + $2,000 for their school

Mae Mohar, 11th Grade, Lakewood High School

Second Place: $2,000 cash prize + $2,000 for their school

Kai Jones, 11th grade, Glenville High School

Third Place: $1,000 cash prize + $1,000 for their school

Adele Wentzel, 10th grade, Lakewood High School 

Youth Speak Out Poetry: Middle School

First Place: $400 cash prize

Mia Teusan, 6th grade, Hudson Middle School 

Second Place: $200 cash prize

Anissa Halmaoui, 7th grade, Hudson Middle School

Third Place: $100 cash prize

Beatrice Watkins, 7th grade, Hathaway Brown 

2024 Youth Sing Out: SongContest Winners

First Place High School: $3,500 Anti-Bias Education Grant

Title: “The Sad Truth” 

Barthelma Adams & Laverne McClain’s 3rd Period Class

Max S. Hayes High School
Roots of American Music Teaching Artist: Sam Hooper

Runner Up High School: $2,000 Anti-Bias Education Grant

Title: “One Voice For Harmony”

Barthelma Adams & Laverne McClain’s 2nd Period Class

Max S. Hayes High School

Roots of American Music Teaching Artist: Sam Hooper

First Place Middle School: $3,500 Anti-Bias Education Grant

Title: “Break It, Break It, Break It”

Lisa Blasko’s 6th Grade Class

Harding Middle School

Roots of American Music Teaching Artist: Charlie Mosbrook

Runner Up Middle School: $2,000 Anti-Bias Education Grants

Title: “Reclaim Our Fate”

Lisa Blasko’s 8th Grade Class

Harding Middle School

Roots of American Music Teaching Artist: Charlie Mosbrook

Stop the Hate: Schools of the Year

Together with its partners, Roots of American Music and Lake Erie Ink, the Maltz Museum offered free song 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. Participating schools were able to submit proposals to receive one of three $6,000 Anti-Bias Community Grants.

Congratulations to all of our participating Northeast Ohio schools:

Andrew J. Rickoff School

Broadway Academy at Mount Pleasant

Charles F. Brush High School

Collinwood High School

East Technical High School

Garfield Middle School

Garfield Heights High School

Glenville High School

Harding Middle School

Hathaway Brown School

Hudson Middle School

Insightful Minds

John Marshall School of Information Technology

Kimpton Middle School

Lakewood High School

Langston Middle School

The Lillian and Betty Ratner Montessori School

Maple Heights High School

Mary M Bethune School

Max S. Hayes High School

Mayfield High School

Midview High School

Milkovich Middle School

MOUND Stem School

Monticello Middle School

Newton D. Baker School of Arts

North Ridgeville Academic Center

Oberlin High School

Rhodes College and Career Academy

Robinson G. Jones

Shaw High School

St. Stanislaus School

William Rainey Harper School

Stop the Hate: Teachers of the Year

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

Congratulations to Lisa Blasko of Garfield & Harding Middle Schools and Amy Garritano of Lakewood High School.


About the Maltz Museum: 

Rooted in the Jewish value of respect for all humanity, the Maltz Museum explores diverse stories of courage from history and today so that there can be a more inclusive tomorrow. The museum is generously supported by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. For tickets call 216-593-0575 or visit

About Stop the Hate: 

The Stop the Hate contest is now in its sixteenth year and has reached an estimated 50,000+ students across twelve Northeast Ohio counties. Students who take the museum tour in person or online use object-based learning to explore what it means to be a bystander, upstander, or perpetrator. Students examine global events like the Holocaust and national events like the Civil Rights Movement. Reflecting on this history, students also reflect on bias and discrimination they have experienced or witnessed in their own lives and consider what role they play as individuals in being the change they want to see in their community. In 2024, the total amount of scholarships, prizes, and anti-bias education grants awarded through the contest to Northeast Ohio students, teachers, and schools will be $1.6 million. For more information about the program please visit or contact

Stop the Hate® is made possible by the generous support of board and committee members, volunteer readers and 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

Location, Admission, and Hours:
The Maltz Museum is located at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood, OH. 

  • Admission: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (60+) and students, $5 for youth (5-11), and FREE for Maltz Museum Members and children under 5. 
  • Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 11 am–5 pm, Wednesday, 11 am–9 pm. Closed on Mondays and most major holidays. 

Museums for All:
We offer free general admission to individuals and families with a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card or a Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) card. Visitors must present a valid form of photo ID. To claim free tickets, please call 216-593-0575 before visiting.


Maltz Museum