Rio Norte students hold art, poetry competition in remembrance of the Holocaust

Students from Rio Norte Junior High School walk through the Safe School Ambassador's gallery on campus that was created after the school's Symbol of Hope art and poetry competition. Courtesy of Noelle Chadbourne

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 24, students at Rio Norte Junior High School organized a Symbol of Hope Competition to bring recognition to the day.

The art and poetry competition was organized by the school’s Safe School Ambassadors (SSA) to honor the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust and to bring recognition to the tragedy, according to Noelle Chadbourne, a history teacher and advisor to SSA.

SSA asked for student submissions of art and poetry related to themes of justice, tolerance, peace, action, hope, respect and courage.

“The submission couldn’t just be a nice picture; it had to have a deeper meaning,” seventh grade SSA student Samantha Di Santo said.  “We looked at a lot of the submissions for that meaning.”

According to Chadbourne, nearly one hundred entries were submitted to the Symbol of Hope Competition.

“Many people keep their ideas private. To have so many people express and showcase their feelings was very surprising,” eighth grade SSA student Samara Stamps said.

Rio Norte Junior High School Symbol of Hope Competition winners Sarah Padilla, who won for her pastel artwork, and Chelsea Mendoza, who won for her poetry. Courtesy of Noelle Chadbourne

Winners of the competition were eighth grade student Sarah Padilla for her pastel artwork and eighth grade student Chelsea Mendoza for her poetry.

The competition also emphasized SSA’s mission to treat fellow students with respect and compassion every day.

“Everyone deserves to be treated the way you want to be treated,” Di Santo said.  “Everyone one is the same even if they have different religions – we are all just human.”

All submissions from the Symbol of Hope Competition are being showcased in a gallery at Rio Norte created by SSA until Friday.

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