Students Win Awards for Poetry from Holocaust Commission of Tidewater

Four Norfolk Academy seventh graders received recognition in the regional Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competition held by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Nyla Gordon ’23 received second place in junior division poetry for her poem, “Words.”

Nyla's poem makes a profound statement about the impact of words on our everyday lives and illustrates how words have the power of freedom and oppression,” said Mrs. Jennifer Rodgers, Middle School English teacher, who teaches Nyla and had students in her classes submit poetry for the competition.

Saoirse Dowd ’23, who is in Dr. Jennifer Gildea’s class, received an honorable mention for her poem, “Watching from the Sidelines.” In addition, Kate Littlejohn ’23 and Sophie Patch ’23 were finalists in the poetry category; their entries were among the 12 chosen to be discussed among the judges in the final round.

Nyla and Saoirse were recognized for their achievements on Wednesday, April 11, at the community Holocaust Remembrance Commemoration, Yom Hashoah, at Congregation Beth El in Norfolk. Nyla’s poem was published in the program booklet.

One of the primary goals of the the Holocaust Commission is to encourage young people to apply the lessons of history to the decisions they make today.  Through studying the Holocaust, students explore the issues of moral courage as well as the dangers of prejudice, peer pressure, unthinking obedience to authority, and indifference.  This competition provides students an opportunity to express themselves creatively about what they have learned.

Entries are judged in three categories: essay, poetry, and visual arts.  The annual competition is open to Tidewater-area public and private school students in grades 9-12.

Congratulations, poets!