Six AIS students will be recognized on June 4 for their award-winning entries in the Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition, including two sophomores who won first place for their original compositions.
"Named in memory of the heroic young leader who organized Jewish resistance and gave his life fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, the Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition invites students grades 7-12 to learn about the Holocaust and respond by means of creative expression," the competition's webpage reads. The entries are judged by a select group of artists, art teachers, writers, and editors.
Taylor Carter '20 won first place for choreographing an original dance titled Keep Holding On, performed by Nyra Wells-Anderson '20, who will also be recognized.
"My piece, titled Keep Holding On, follows the theme The Experiences of Children," Taylor wrote in her entry. "The dancer is dancing as a young Jewish girl in 1939, just taken by the Nazis. My choreography starts off moving fluidly, but abruptly stops, representing how fast the young girl's life changes. The piece continues with a mixture of both fluid and sharp choreography to show how quickly the childlike behavior (the fluid choreography) is forced to be rigid (the sharp choreography). The piece ends how it started, showing the effect of the Nazis on not only this child, but every child that was taken."
Colette Cavazos '20 won first place for Lightning is Silent, an original composition for violin and viola (performed here with her brother).
"Lightning is only silent while thunder is regarded as something separate," Colette wrote in her entry. "In my piece, I explore the theme 'the world watched in silence.' The first theme is one Jewish woman's cry, soon joined by others, as the Germans, represented by moving harmonies and Beethoven themes, pile Jews onto trains and into gas chambers. The second is the dissonant frivolity of the outside world as they ignore the rapidly crescendoing first theme of the Jews, culminating in chaos as liberation comes. However, only a fragment of the Jewish theme is left, the piece ending on an unfinished chord, representing the future."
Cheney Williams '20 received an honorable mention in the 9th and 10th grade 2D art category for her piece Unbothered and Silent.
"This piece illustrates an American family watching the nightly news on their television, showing Hitler preaching his harmful intentions and accomplishments to a crowd of followers. The family members sit in silence, with tape over their mouths, portraying the theme of how The World Watched in Silence, explaining how they did nothing to speak up or raise awareness for these awful events that were taking place. In addition, the son plays with his toy army men, a symbol for how the rest of the world sat back and thought of this as a game and not the reality that it truly was."
In the creative writing category, Phoebe Weintraub '20 received an honorable mention in her age group for her story The Scar. The story follows a girl who survived the Holocaust when she was 13 years old, and flits between present day (where she is 17) and her memories of the Holocaust, during which she was held at Terezín concentration camp in the Czech Republic.
The four sophomores submitted their pieces as part of their coursework in Dolores Verdeur's Honors English class.
Sabrina Burnetta '23 was also inspired to enter the competition by her studies in Erica Novak's seventh grade English class. After reading Milkweed, Sabrina reflected on the novel in poetic form, and chose to enter her assignment in the competition. Her poem When Will We Change? was awarded 3rd place in her age group. "Enough is enough. Make a change," read the last two lines.
Their prizes will be presented at an awards ceremony on June 4 at Moore College of Art and Design. Most artwork entered in the contest will be displayed in a special exhibition Moore's galleries from June 1-14.
Pictured, clockwise from top left: Sabrina Burnetta, Taylor Carter, Colette Cavazos, Nyra Wells-Anderson, Cheney Williams, Phoebe Weintraub