Showalter Middle School 8th grader wins Holocaust Center for Humanity contest

Eighth-grader Jordyn Famimiko of Showalter Middle School was recently awarded first place in the middle-school essay category of the Holocaust Center for Humanity’s 2017 Writing, Art, & Film Contest.

Jordyn’s piece, entitled “My Reflection,” is a stirring call to protest injustice. She will be honored in a community reception on July 16, taking place at the Henry and Sandra Friedman Holocaust Center for Humanity, and will receive a monetary prize. Her work will be displayed at the Holocaust Center, at events, and in publications throughout the year.

This year 913 students entered the Center’s Writing, Art, and Film Contest, including 386 entries in the Middle-School Writing category alone.

“When the entries pour in from students around the state, from rural and urban public schools, parochial schools, students who are home schooled — really all over — we see that students strive and genuinely intend to improve our world. It’s very inspiring, and tells us that our work at the Center is as important today as it’s ever been.” – Ilana Cone Kennedy, Director of Education

Here’s Jordyn’s winning entry:

My Reflection

I will admit that I am small
Only one, of the billions of creatures that inhabit this world
And I fear that my smallness can only achieve so much
And I fear that my smallness will not ignite the flames resting in anyone

You see, my lips are small
Thy lug me through my day, but still they are nothing short of minuscule
And my eyes are quite tiny too
They search for the slightest bit of wholesomeness
Yet, all they see are wounds of spite

My hands,
Bigger than my eyes but smaller than my feet
They clinch at the sight of these wounds
Aware of the atrocities behind them
Aware, of how the skin beneath those jabs and bruises may never mend
My stubby hands alone could never cure a wretched heart

I would say my legs are actually quite lengthy of my age, but they are still so scrawny and weak
They urge me to run from injustice
But, no matter the distance I could manage to escape
Injustice would still sit atop its mighty throne

I know that my body is small
I can see this through any mirror I choose to gaze upon
However, reflections cannot reveal to me the magnitude of my words

My smallness will not pain injustice
But, my keen thought and combating phrases may
My mind is hefty and not weak
Sharp in wisdom and rich in truth
I will believe this, and I will speak it to be true
I will believe that the expressions journeying from my brain and releasing through my mouth are bigger than me
Greater than me
And I will dethrone injustice, not with a mighty sword, but with wounding declarations

I utter to you, who is reading this, through my pint-sized mouth
View yourself through a cleaner lens
See the power of your voice
Feed your mind with exceeding amounts of knowledge,
And use this in your combats with injustice
For, injustice cowers at the profoundness of your echo

And that is how injustice will be dethroned
And that is how history will not repeat itself
And that is how holocausts will be events of the distant past and not normalities of daily life
And that is how peace will happen
And that is how conflicts will cease
And that is how ignorance will not blossom
And that is how the world will change

I may as well be small, and you may as well be small too
Or someone entirely different altogether
But, I know injustice fears words
Yours and mine alike

Injustice will fall to your feet in shame
For, it’s only defense was hate,
And your voices silences that hate

Connecting lessons of the Holocaust to a broad range of relevant themes for our time, from bullying to social justice, the Holocaust Center for Humanity teaches students to become engaged citizens, awakens empathy, and challenges them to recognize and speak out against bigotry and prejudice. Founded in 1989, The Center works with teachers, students, and community groups across the Northwest to provide educational materials, curriculum, and interaction with local Holocaust survivors who tell their stories to 20,000 students of all ages each year. In 2015, the Center opened its museum to the public. 15,000 students of all ages have toured the Center’s exhibits during the 2015-2016 school year. The Center’s mission is to inspire teaching and learning for humanity in the schools and communities of this region through study of the Holocaust. Find out more at

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