Themes for this year's submissions to the fourth Holocaust writing contest by Chapman University's Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education ranged from defiant public protesters in Berlin to the instigators of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to hate mongers from Hitler to Osama bin Laden.
At a March event to announce the results, about 120 Holocaust survivors met student contenders from 61 local schools. More than 600 people attended a speech by Pierre Sauvage, who talked about Le Chambon, a French town that protected his parents and other Jews during Nazi occupation.
The 122 entries were evaluated by 17 judges, including William Elperin, president of the "1939" Club, a survivors group.
The winning high school essay entries were from Andrey Finegersh, a Mission Viejo High School senior; and Jennifer Wiegert, from Whittier Christian High School, La Habra. Top middle school essays were written by Brittany Horth, a seventh-grader from Irvine's Lakeside Middle School; and Andrew Grimm, of Tuffree Middle School, Placentia.
The high school poetry winners were Elaine Inoue, of Anaheim's Acaciawood College Preparatory Academy, who placed second in last year's contest; and Vickey K. Mendez of Anaheim High School. Winning middle school poets were Jennifer Thompson, an eighth-grader from St. Columban School, Garden Grove; and Amanda Mener, a seventh-grader from Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School, Irvine.