Chapman Holocaust Contest Finalists


Sarah Shay

Chapman Holocaust Contest finalists on March 9.

Stephen Serrano, Section Editor

The Chapman University Annual Holocaust Contest stretches minds and hearts of middle school and high school students each year. The contest started in 2000 as an essay contest and later included art, film, and poetry. Chapman University partners with the 1939 Society in making a highly competitive, but inspiring competition ( For 18 years now, The Chapman Holocaust Contest has given numerous students a chance to relate, learn, and grow as young adults through the lives and experiences of the survivors of the Holocaust. Every year, YLHS students take part in what is now a tradition.

To participate in the competition, students must watch a testimonial on a Holocaust survivor. From there, they will choose to either create art, poetry, prose or a short film. The key to producing a literary or artistic masterpiece is to express ideas and words using empathy. Predominantly freshmen participate, but it is open to all high school students.

Even though this contest is very competitive, three YLHS students have made it to the finals this year. Kaylee Takenaga (9), Cindy Wang (9), and Nick Franklyn (12) made it to the end of the competition on March 9. Nick took home the first place win for his short film, while the others drew breathtaking art in respect for the survivors.

Nick’s short film was entitled “Not Forgotten” and was inspired by the testimonial of Sonia Berson. His video was aesthetically pleasing and heartwarming to the viewers. With the use of VHS tapes, Nick brought his film to life with clips of real-life events. He also used Sonia’s voice in some parts to expand on the visuals and her life. The first place win represents YLHS and generated plenty of Mustang pride.

At Travis Ranch Middle School, Kaylee won the middle school division for her artwork inspired by the experiences of Alice Friedman. The drawing shows events in Friedman’s life that stood out in her story. This year she was a finalist once again but in the high school division. Although Kaylee and Cindy’s art did not win the top two spots, they still make the student body proud of what they have accomplished.

The contest impacts the youth and makes them realize how grateful they are. Learning about the dreadful treatment of the Jews is very eye-opening to students. Freshman student Drashti Vasoya (9) believes that the Holocaust project “symbolizes strength, sympathy, and hope for a better future that our generation can change.” The Chapman Holocaust Contest will continue to inspire young students to do righteousness in the world, as the stories of survivors live on.