BEACHWOOD, OH - Severance Hall was full of excitement as the third annual “Stop The Hate: Youth Speak Out!” essay contest awarded a four-year $50,000 scholarship to Grand Prize winner Alexander Stojsavljevic, an 11th grade student at Normandy High School. Glenville High senior Cedric Thorbes and Olmsted Falls High junior Hayleigh Sanders received first and second runner up four-year scholarships, $25,000 and $15,000 respectively. 22 other Northeast Ohio students grades 6-12 received awards at a gala event featuring a keynote address from ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman and inspirational remarks from Museum co-founder Milton Maltz, KeyBank District President Lisa Oliver and Musical Arts Association Chairman Richard Bogomolny.
1,700 students from seven eligible counties - Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit - shared their stories by submitting essays this year. Juniors and seniors were eligible for the three scholarship prizes. The top ten finalists, who achieved the highest scores on the written essays, made up less than 1% of the total essays received. Created by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, “Stop The Hate: Youth Speak Out!” asks students to describe an act of discrimination, reflect on their own response and write a 500-word essay with a plan of action to affect change. Essays are then scored on content, writing, originality and creativity, and utilization of the theme of personal responsibility.
The essays addressed a variety of issues, from race and religion to gay and gender rights to ethnic discrimination, and offer heartfelt and innovative solutions.
For the third year in a row, Master of Ceremonies Jimmy Malone, radio personality from WMJI-105.7 FM kept the pace lively, and the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra Chamber Ensembles provided inspirational entertainment.