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Three Pasadena Students Win Awards in Second Annual Anne Frank Day Essay Contest

Published on Friday, May 17, 2024 | 5:46 am

Three Pasadena students were among the winners celebrated at the Second Annual Anne Frank Day Awards Ceremony, held on Sunday, May 12 at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium during Jewish American Heritage Month.

William Agner from The Waverly School took third place in the age 12-15 category with his essay, “Loneliness And Hope In A Modern Childhood,” while Mayfield Senior School boasted two winners in the age 16-18 category: Sarah Brennan’s essay “Hope Amidst Struggle” secured second place, while Stella Keyes’ essay “Anne Frank & Me” earned third place.

The contest, designed and launched last year by Anne Frank LA (AFLA) Board members, encouraged students aged 12 to 18 from public, charter, and private schools across Southern California to read Anne Frank’s diary, choose one of three selected quotations or one of their own, and write an essay expressing how the quotation relates to their own life.

From over 70 essays submitted by middle and high school students in Boyle Heights, Carson, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Ana, and Simi Valley, the three Pasadena students emerged as winners.

“The Diary of a Young Girl,” one of the most widely read books worldwide and translated into over 70 languages, symbolizes the nearly 1.5 million Jewish children who perished during the Holocaust. Anne Frank’s diary, a testament to the importance of young voices, showcases her astute writing and editing skills.

The awards celebration, held in recognition of President Joe Biden’s recent proclamation of May 5 to 12 as the “Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust,” holds special significance given the current turbulent climate since Oct. 7 and the ongoing Israeli-Gaza war.

Kenneth Miller, the West Area Representative for Community Engagement from Mayor Karen Bass’s office, and Sofi Shield, AFLA cofounder and Programs & Operations Director, presented the award certificates.

Holocaust survivor and tapestry artist Trudie Strobel, now 86, received the inaugural AFLA Humanitarian Award during the ceremony. Her stunning works, created as a form of therapy as she bore witness to Nazi atrocities, are now on display at the Zena and Pauline Gatov Gallery in Long Beach. The exhibit, “Trudie Strobel: A Life in Tapestry,” runs through May 24.

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