By Stefanie Donahue
Seattle-based Holocaust Center for Humanity has awarded Blaine Middle School student Diana Kovtun second place for an art piece she submitted for the organization’s annual Writing, Art and Film Contest.
The nonprofit celebrated its 25th year hosting the contest, which is open to students in grades 5 — 12. This year’s prompt related to a recent honor awarded to Seattle, after it was chosen as one of the 11 places in the United States to care for a sapling from a chestnut tree cherished by Anne Frank.
The prompt, “How does this tree, and what you have learned about the Holocaust, inspire you and others?” garnered a response from about 900 students from 60 schools in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.
“The contest is important because it gives students a creative outlet to express some, at times, heavy and difficult concepts,” said Holocaust Center education associate Julia Thompson.
Most often, the prompts encourage kids to consider the experience of a local holocaust survivor, she said. Ultimately, the mission is to encourage kids to not only be open to learning, but also to take action in their own communities.
The contest is only one component of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s education. The organization also offers several exhibitions and resources for teachers, including trainings, speaker opportunities and more.
Sixth grade student Kovtun attended the award ceremony in July with support from her teacher Paul Minckler. “The small sapling also illustrates that there is still hope for the survivors and their families and the hope has come,” Kovtun said in a statement.
For a full list of winners, visit holocaustcenterseattle.org.