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Chapman University Launches Art and Writing Contest

The Chapman University and The 1939 Society Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest is one of the largest competitions of its kind. Sponsored through the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, the contest focuses on themes central to both the Holocaust and to ethical decision making in our world today. The contest offers students the opportunity to share their creative works in response to survivors and rescuers oral testimonies.

Hannah Wheeler - 16th Annaul Holocaust Art and Writing Contest Entry

Hannah Wheeler

This year’s theme, “Through Discovery to Action: Making Meaning from Memory,” will generate contributions from middle school and high school students across the country. Students and educators, from private, public and parochial schools, are invited to contribute their expression to this unique and meaningful collection of art and reflection.

Lisa Cho - 16th Annaul Holocaust Art and Writing Contest Entry

Lisa Cho

In approaching the topic, students are asked to listen, interpret and convey. In the listen component, survivor and rescuer testimonies are made available for educators and students online through the USC Shoah Foundation website, the USC Shoah Foundation YouTube channel and on the website of contest partner, The 1939 Society. The 1939 Society is an organization of Holocaust survivors, descendants and friends. It takes its name from the year that Germany invaded Poland, changing forever the lives of those who would later join together in Los Angeles to form the Society in 1952.

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education has an archive of more than 53,000 testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. As part of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USC Shoah Foundation is housed at the University of Southern California.

In interpreting what they see in these testimonies, students are asked to consider a time in their own lives when a discovery moved them to action, encouraged them to speak out, or to think about a situation differently. Teresa Hill, an English teacher at Downey High School in California notes, “The contest makes history come to life for my students…. It makes them consider their roles and responsibilities in the world.” In sharing what this process inspires in them, students create an original work of art, piece of writing or film.

Teachers can learn more about the contest, view past entries, and obtain lesson plans by visiting the Chapman University website.

Participating schools are eligible to win a first prize award of $500 and first place students in each category along with a parent/guardian and teacher are invited to attend an expense-paid study trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and other sites in Washington D.C. Second prize winners in each category will be awarded $250.

Christina Trinh - 16th Annaul Holocaust Art and Writing Contest Past Winner

Christina Trinh

Hailey Shi - 16th Annaul Holocaust Art and Writing Contest Entry

Hailey Shi

In addition, participating schools receive five seats (availability permitting) at the awards ceremony on March 6, 2015 at Chapman University in California, a copy of the book The Holocaust Chronicle: A History in Words and Pictures for every student representative in attendance and student certificates. Those who attend the awards ceremony in March will also have the opportunity to meet Holocaust survivors from The 1939 Society. Educators and students are encouraged, but not required, to register for the contest online by October 22, 2014. All entries are due February 3, 2015.

Paulina Phan - 16th Annaul Holocaust Art and Writing Contest Entry

Paulina Phan

Elizabeth Marlowe - 16th Annaul Holocaust Art and Writing Contest Entry

Elizabeth Marlowe

Carol Martin, a teacher from Our Lady of Fatima Parish School in California said, “The contest engages students in active learning.  They don’t just read about history. They watch and hear survivors tell their stories and, in turn, consider their own choices and actions and how they can influence people around them.” The 16th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest provides an outstanding learning opportunity for students to build authentic connections between their lives and the life histories of Holocaust survivors and rescuers. See more about the Chapman University Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest in this video and for detailed information on engaging in the 16th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest click here.