“Let us not forget, after all, that there is always a moment when the moral choice is made. Often because of one story or one book or one person, we are able to make a different choice, a choice for humanity, for life.” — Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate

With the help of over 100 judges and more than 10,000 voters, we are proud to reveal the winners of this year’s Facing History Together Student Essay Contest. 

Thanks to generous support from Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation's Holocaust Remembrance Project, Facing History is excited to award more than $25,000 in scholarships and awards to students and their educators. Of these, the three $5,000 Upstander Scholarships have been named in memory of individuals special to Holland & Knight. 

Congratulations to the nearly 5,200 students from across the US, UK, and Canada who shared compelling reflections on ethical decision-making. The diverse range of perspectives and experiences reflect the power of Elie Wiesel’s words and provide us with hope for a future filled with compassionate, thoughtful citizens of the world. 

Looking for ways to continue exploring these ideas in your classroom? Check out these ready-to-use lesson plans that will help you engage your students as they consider how they want to participate in their community and world.


Upstander Scholarships

$5,000 Upstander Scholarship in Memory of Walter Reed

Walter Reed (born Werner Rindsberg) was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. After Walter finally reached the US in 1941, he was drafted and traveled to France where he served in a military intelligence unit. He died in 2016.

Claire Cao

Tohickon Middle School
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Speak Up

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$5,000 Upstander Scholarship in Memory of Enid Cohen

A beloved friend to Holland & Knight, Enid believed firmly in the importance of teaching the lessons of the Holocaust.  

Charlie Kolodziej

Western Reserve Academy
Hudson, Ohio

Why I No Longer Hide My Rainbow

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$5,000 Upstander Scholarship in Memory of Mette Hannover Shayne

Born in Denmark in 1934, Mette fled the German occupation to escape the Holocaust in a fishing boat to Sweden and ultimately settled in Chicago. A librarian at Northwestern University, she was dedicated to the students, particularly those from abroad because she had been a refugee and was an immigrant.

Eniola Ajao

Northfield Mount Hermon School
Gill, Massachusetts

On Ubuntu

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Upstander Awards

Each of the students listed below will receive a $1,000 Upstander Award. 

Erin Kelley

Belleville East High School
Belleville, Illinois

Ripple Effect

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Neha Middela

International Academy
Bloomfield, Michigan

What Malala Taught Me

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Kaitlin Wong

Carlmont High School
Belmont, California


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Morgan Guess

Lone Oak Middle School
Paducah, Kentucky

Pushing Through Fear

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Tashia Ethridge

Enka High School
Candler, North Carolina

A Hard "R"

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Reed Cleland

Homer Senior High School
Homer, New York

The Conscientious Cooperator

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Ivy Sauberan

La Mesa, California

Broken Children

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Fatema Uddin

Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Lily Elkwood

Ranney School, Tinton Falls, New Jersey

Ganna Leonova

Moscrop Secondary, Burnaby, British Columbia

Ari Moore

iLead North Hollywood, Van Nuys, California

Jesus Lino

Los Angeles School of Global Studies, Los Angeles, California

Hannah Pan

Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, California

Honorable Mentions

Matt Lacaire

West Boylston Middle High School, West Boylston, Massachusetts

Nathan Gardner

Calvert Hall College High School, Baltimore, Maryland

Anne-Marie Crawmer

Saint Joseph Academy, Cleveland, Ohio

Franklin Hang

Preuss School UCSD, La Jolla, California

Daniel Meadvin

Kohelet Yeshiva High School, Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Abnash Bassi

Seaquam Secondary, Delta, BC

Bailey Guess

Dunn School, Los Olivos, California

Talia Mesnick

Solon High School, Solon, Ohio

Juliana Phan

Oxford Academy, Cypress, California

Sam Hoffman

Western Reserve Academy, Hudson, Ohio

Anya Mody

Ardsley High School, Ardsley, New York

Eleanor Tucker

Holton-Arms School, Bethesda, Maryland

Noelle Natividad

Arcadia High School, Arcadia, California

Alicia Argueta

Sandy Spring Friends School, Sandy Spring, Maryland

Julia Thompson

Montclair Kimberly Academy, Montclair, New Jersey

Diana Gonzalez

Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica , California

Carol Liang

Dover Sherborn Regional High School, Dover, Massachusetts

Johnathan Sia

Dr. Augustine Ramirez Intermediate School, Eastvale, California

Diego Jasson

Brunswick School, Greenwich , Connecticut

Lily Yustein

Montclair High School, Montclair, New Jersey

Min Jung Kim

Gleneagle Secondary School, Coquitlam, BC

Shai Grossman

Santa Monica Alternative School House, Santa Monica, California

Ada Perlman

Community Day School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Brianna Hampton

Intrinsic Schools, Chicago, Illinois

Angie Wang

Castilleja School, Palo Alto, California

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