16th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest

This year the contest was extra special as three of our fellow Mustangs were chosen to place!


This year the contest was extra special as three of our fellow Mustangs were chosen to place!

Paris Acosta, Photo-journalist

Encouraging and educating young students about the Holocaust and its pivotal life lessons for our world today is why the Rodgers Center of Holocaust Education, in partnership with the 1939 Society (one of the largest and most active Holocaust survivor organizations in the U.S.) and the Samueli Foundation, sponsors the Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest for middle school and high school students. Focusing on themes paramount to the Holocaust, the contest gives students the opportunity to share their creativity through their work in response to survivors’ testimonies.

This year, each school was invited to participate in the 16th Annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest. Participating schools submitted a total of three entries (art, film and/or writing) from three individual students. Students awarded first place were given $500 and an expense-paid study trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C—all made possible by generous supporters of the contest. Students who won second place were also awarded and given a cash prize of $250. Amazingly enough, our fellow Mustangs Kelly Nguyen (9), Peyton Wagner (9), and Marcus Reed (9) all placed in their respective category. Kelly, however, placed first in the writing category with her poem entitled, “What if?”

“I’m sorry, I just don’t want to be alone anymore
Blows of the teenage love, her hand so soft
People tell me the way I feel is so wrong, but it feels so right?
Someone find me! I’m scared.
You were scared, yet you were found
You screamed as hard as life would let you, even with death filling your eyes
Even with the light from your kin pooling around your feet
You found your voice.
You made everyone hear your voice, no matter the cost
What if you couldn’t find it? What if you chose to give up?”

Her poem conveyed the pain and sorrow of the victim beautifully and touched everyone who heard it, truly deserving of second place. Kelly exclaims that it was truly an amazing experience getting to share the story of her survivor and an even better experience having won.

This year’s Holocaust Art and Writing Contest was a true success, linking discovery and action, on the part of both the survivor or rescuer and the participant. Congratulations to all the Mustangs who submitted a work of art and to our 3 finalists (Kelly, Peyton, and Marcus). You all did a great job!