Today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah in Hebrew, JRS/USA is thrilled to announce the winners of the Lessons from Anne Essay Competition: Courage, Compassion, and Hope in Refuge. The competition, a collaboration of the Jesuit Schools Network, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and America Media was held as an opportunity to raise awareness and conversation around the lives of refugees and how Jesuit educated students can take action.
James Chapman, Creighton Preparatory School, Class of 2020 is receiving first place for his essay which takes a unique perspective to link Anne’s story to the story of refugees today. In his essay, James writes to Kitty, just as Anne did in her diary, and calls on all of us to be like those who helped the Franks along their journey “and all those other good souls who welcomed Jews at their own peril and welcome the Anne Franks of the world into our lives today!”
“This is such an unexpected honor,” says James, “Thank you for recognizing my essay. It is an honor to be following in Anne Frank’s footsteps who raised the awareness of the challenges facing refugees through her work and her life.”
James’s full essay can be found on America Magazine’s Website and will be published in an upcoming edition.
Frankie Andrews, Loyola Blakefield, Class of 2019 is receiving second place for his essay describing how Anne’s diary brings a voice and “humanization” to the plight of refugees today (click here to read his essay). Sam Forrest, Creighton Preparatory School Class of 2019, is receiving third place for his essay which related the story of Anne to his family members who fled their homes and to those who have to flee today (click here to read his essay).
The competition was started in gratitude for the honor JRS/USA received, The Anne Frank Award for our work improving access to education for refugees, from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“Anne’s story is such an inspiration to us and the work we do with refugees, and we are grateful it has been an inspiration for Jesuit High School students around the country,” says Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, Director of Mission for JRS/USA. “As a refugee herself, and memorably in her remarkable diary, Anne Frank gave an example of courage, compassion and hope that can serve as a beacon for refugees and displaced persons in our world today.”
As we take the time on Holocaust Remembrance Day to remember six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism, we encourage you to read James’s essay, and to reflect also on the modern crisis that cause our brothers and sisters to flee from their homes or go into hiding because of fear of death or persecution.