The lunch that follows the awards ceremony for Chapman University’s Holocaust Art and Writing Contest is always a delightful time. Music fills the large tent on Bert Williams Mall; lunch is hot dogs, fruit, popcorn and ice pops.
Hundreds of middle and high school students bustle with excitement. Guests of honor smile for countless photos.
But the smiles are just a fraction of the story. The teens and pre-teens attending have studied the accounts of survivors and worked hard to honor those memories through art, poetry, writing or film. As many survivors attend as are able, eager to connect with a new generation that will carry their hope of “never again” into a future they can only imagine.
To See Highlights from the 2014 Holocaust Writing Contest, follow this link: chapma.nu/2014HAWC
“Do no harm,” are the words survivor Jack Pariser uses to conclude his speech during the ceremony that culminates the 2015 contest, which attracts entries from 209 schools in 120 cities, including Kosice, Slovakia, and Shanghai, China. Pariser then asks the audience to repeat the words aloud: “Do no harm.”
Afterward, guests and students pour out of Memorial Hall to visit at lunch tables, pose for photos with survivors and have them sign copies of The Holocaust Chronicle: A History in Word and Pictures.
Together they touch the future. And that’s plenty of reason to smile.
Photo at top: Keynote speaker Jack Pariser shares a selfie moment with a young attendee after the annual awards ceremony for Chapman’s Holocaust Art and Writing Contest, presented by the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education.