MMI Preparatory School eighth grader Peter Walko captured first place in the Middle School Division and eighth grader Emily Ryan and junior Caitlyn Kline finished second in the Middle School and High School divisions, respectively, in the 22nd 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.
All three students read their winning entries and received their awards at the Yom Hashoa Memorial Service at the Beth Israel Temple in Hazleton on April 24. 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.