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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

Student Contests

"Using Words to Bear Witness"

This year's THGC Student Contest theme was Using Words to Bear Witness. Survivors, witnesses, and others who care about preserving testimonies of the Holocaust and modern genocides have attempted to convey their experiences to others, especially the younger generations that represent the future. By connecting with their words, Texas students can assume the role of witness and use their knowledge to improve the world in which we live.

Submissions were be due by Friday, February 28, 2020 at 4:00 P.M. C.S.T. Each submission needed to be accompanied by the electronic application, parent/guardian permission form, and honesty clause form.

The contest results will be announced in April 2020 to commemorate Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month.
Each middle school winner will receive a monetary award of $250, and each high school winner will receive a monetary award of $500, generously funded by the Friends of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Download our flyer for a quick reference to all of the details and to share with teachers and students who might be interested in participating.

2020 Student Contest Winners

Students were asked to choose the testimony of a survivor or witness to the Holocaust or other genocide and then create a poem or piece of art in reaction to their testimony (the contest guidelines can be seen below).

Here are the winners from each of the categories:

The following students earned the top score in their categories.

High School Poetry

"A Stuffed Bear" by Rebekah
Testimony from Charlotte Delbo
Jimmy Carter Early College High School
La Joya, TX

Rebekah wrote, "This entry reflects on the survivor's experience because it is giving the perspective of a person they saw."

A Stuffed Bear High School Poetry

High School Visual Arts

"A Childhood Erased" by Clarisse
Testimony from Charlotte Delbo
Los Fresnos High School
Los Fresnos, TX

Clarisse wrote, "In this piece, the girl that Charlotte describes is seen reaching for her teddy bear, but it is just out of her reach since she is being ripped away from her childhood by Hitler's Nazi soldiers."

A Childhood Erased High School Visual Arts

Middle School Poetry

"Forgotten Past" by Matthew
Testimony from Charlotte Delbo
Pin Oak Middle School
Bellaire, TX

Matthew wrote, "The survivor saw a child killed and her doll being sold for a few onions. I wrote a poem that reflects what the girl must have thought and what the doll must have represented for her."

Forgotten Past Middle School Poetry

Middle School Visual Arts

"The Only Pure Thing Left" by Josiah
Testimony from Charlotte Delbo
Roy J. Smith Middle School
Killeen, TX

Josiah wrote, "She witnessed a teddy bear arrive in the arms of a little girl, to later see it outside of the showers among the clothes of the dead and then traded for a couple of onions."

The Only Pure Thing Left Middle School Visual Arts

Honorable Mention
The following students earned the second-highest scores in their categories.

High School Poetry

"Dreadful Moments of Remembrance" by Abigail
Testimony from Leakhena Sears
Sharyland High School
Mission, TX

Abigail wrote, "The survivor I chose that inspired my poem is Leakhena Sears, the child survivor of the Cambodian genocide who moved to Texas, describes her murdered parents; her mother starved to death."

Dreadful Moments of Remembrance High School Poetry

High School Visual Arts

"Hope" by Paula
Testimony from Ambassador Sichan Siv
Jimmy Carter Early College High School
La Joya, TX

Paula wrote, "The image represents the survivor being a lonely person on earth as he describes, and the hope of his mother's wisdom gave him to overcome the horrific experience."

Hope High School Visual Arts

Middle School Poetry

"Sacrifice" by Ani
Testimony from Leakhena Sears
Highland Park Middle School
Dallas, TX

Ani wrote, "My entry shows the pain and struggles that Leakhena Sears endured. It reflects what she went through and the pain that she has suffered."

Sacrifice Middle School Poetry

Middle School Visual Arts

"Moral Denial" by Elizabeth
Testimony from Soghomon Tehlirian
Leo Adams Middle School
Haslet, TX

Elizabeth wrote, "This is my depiction of the origin behind the quote -- Tehlirian was charged with the murder of Talaat Pasha, and when tri[ed], used this as a reason as to why he should be ruled not guilty."

Moral Denial Middle School Visual Arts

General Guidelines

  • All submissions were due by 4:00 P.M. C.S.T. on Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Students were allowed to submit an entry in each category (poetry and visual arts), but may submit only one entry per category.
  • All entries must be completely original -- plagiarized works will be immediately disqualified.
  • Each entry must be uploaded and submitted through the application form on this page. A parent/guardian permission form and an honesty clause form must also be signed, uploaded and submitted with each entry.