MMI Preparatory School students Allison McGeehan and Abigail Walters captured first place in their respective divisions in the 21st annual Israel T. and Mildred Klapper Memorial Holocaust Essay Contest, which is sponsored jointly by the Hazleton Jewish Community Council and the Greater Hazleton Ministerial Association.
Allison McGeehan, a junior and the daughter of Thomas and Sandra McGeehan of Drums, was first in the high school division. Abigail Walters, an eighth grade student and the daughter of Teisha and Christopher Hardy of White Haven, finished first in the middle school division. Both students will read their winning entries and receive their awards prizes at the Hazleton Holocaust Community Service on May 4 at Beth Israel Temple in Hazleton. MMI English instructor Jennifer Novotney was the faculty adviser for the competition.
For the essay, students had to address the horrific acts of oppression that have been perpetrated in recent times, including the mass slaughters of tens of millions of innocent men, women and children during attacks such as the Armenian Massacres, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the genocide in Rwanda and the Shoah against the Jews. Students were asked to write up to 300 words on what they would do to help prevent another Holocaust if they were in a position to effect change.
A panel of judges chosen by the Greater Hazleton Ministerial Association read each essay and selected the winners.