Maggie Herath, a sophomore at Logan High School, Anessa Baldridge and Audrey Barton, both 7th graders of Longfellow Middle, have each won first-place prize in The Never Again! Reflection Contest. The contest is designed to bring added meaning to studies of the Holocaust by connecting it with 21st century issues and is sponsored by the Maureen and Robert Freedland LPEF Fund for Studies of the Shoah in partnership with the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.
Logan High sophomore, Elizabeth Goth, and Longfellow 7th grader, Olivia Baltz, received second place prizes. Eleven additional middle school students received Honorable Mention in the contest with 54 total entries. Winners will receive prize money and winning submissions will be on display throughout June on the first floor of the Hogan Administrative Center.
The School District of La Crosse recently received the Gregory P. Wegner Recognition for Excellence in Holocaust Education and the Never Again! Reflection Contest is culminating activity for the Holocaust social studies unit in 7th and 10th grades. Contest submissions included art, sculpture, poetry, stories, essays, and videos. In her first-place poem, “With Waves of the Sea,” Anessa Baldridge wrote:
Never again should this happen
Not to them, not to me
Never again should this happen
It should all be lost with the waves of the sea
In her winning essay at the High School level, Maggie Herath wrote, “In order to prevent the atrocities of the Holocaust from occurring ever again, we need to be conscious of what enabled those things to happen and have knowledge of history to compare to current events.”
Audrey Barton’s first-place sculpture represents, “…the future and how those generations may learn why we should treat everyone equally and with respect to prevent genocide, criticism, and inequality.”
The Maureen and Robert Freedland LPEF Fund for Studies of the Shoah was established at the La Crosse Community Foundation in 2007. Annual proceeds support grants awarded by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation to help students to advance their understanding of the Shoah, the systematic genocide against the Jewish people and other “undesirable” groups targeted for destruction by the Nazis in World War II. In addition to exposing students to the history of the Shoah, teachers are encouraged to help students to recognize the events and beliefs that made the Shoah possible and relate them to events around the world affecting people of many nationalities and religious beliefs. Essay contest prizes were provided through a separate gift from Maureen and Robert Freedland.
“Study of the Holocaust is an important way to look at topics of current domestic and international significance that call for discussion today,” said Maureen Freedland. “This year, students showed keen interest in analyzing our country’s own immigration policies, the refugee crises worldwide and the role of the media in shaping opinions. We’re grateful to Holocaust educators Dr. Gregory Wegner and Darylle Clott for assistance in reviewing submissions at the high school level.” Freedland added: “We are pleased that through our grants and essay contest that students have additional opportunities to engage in important study of history as they become adults who will face contemporary challenges calling for critical thinking.
Middle School Contest Winners
Anessa Baldridge First Place
Olivia Baltz Second Place
Ezra Ashby Honorable Mention
Joyce Cleveland Honorable Mention
Vivian Kowalski Honorable Mention
Ian Libotte Honorable Mention
Bennett Folkers Honorable Mention
Piper Gallagher Honorable Mention
Alana Vue Honorable Mention
Owen Sauter Honorable Mention
Ayala Stout Honorable Mention
Bella Groth Honorable Mention
Finley Duerst Honorable Mention
High School Contest Winners
Maggie Herath First Place
Elizabeth Gotz Second Place