Canajoharie Middle School Student Wins Holocaust Essay Contest

Eighth-grader Grace Nowalk, is the first prize winner of the local B’nai B’rith Holocaust essay contest.

Before COVID19 and being sent home for Remote Learning, students were reading The Boy in The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne in their English class. It is very common for the students to research, reflect, and respond to various tasks associated with the Holocaust. Grace wrote a profound essay that touched the Jewish Federation in Albany.

The opportunity for all students to enter the contest was posted on their Google Classroom at the end of March. They would need to submit their essays and the requirements by April 2. This opportunity was a required assignment for all students for English Class.

On April 15, eighth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Schaffer, posted a Google Form after posting their “scores” seeking their permission and interest in entering the formal contest, which would also earn them an extra credit grade for the class. They had to indicate “yes” or “no” if they were interested in entering the formal contest. Fifteen students decided to enter the contest by April 21, 2020, meeting all the specifications indicated by the 2020 B’nai B’rith Capital Area Holocaust Essay Contest.

The topic students wrote about, “Only 11 states currently require Holocaust education. Should all states require it to improve students’ appreciation of our ethnic and cultural diversity? What lessons of the Holocaust do you think might increase understanding and reduce intolerance?”

Grace Nowalk’s Winning Essay.