Three MMI Preparatory School students placed in the annual Israel T. & Mildred Klapper Memorial Holocaust Essay Contest.
Serena Novotney (Middle School category) and Jillian McGeehin (High School category) captured first place in the 2022 contest. Andrew Blasko tied for second place in the High School Category.
The 2022 essay topic focused on the public display of Nazi flags and public expression of Holocaust denial and how such expressions are protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution which guarantees the right to freedom of speech. However, with the marked rise in anti-Semitic speech expressing hatred toward Jews, most notably during recent neo-Nazi and white supremacy marches, students were asked to write about how our country can avoid fomenting the same irrational anti-Jewish emotions and beliefs which led Hitler and his Nazi party to wipe out six million of their nation’s Jews along with millions of other minorities they deemed undesirable.
Serena Novotney is the daughter of Jennifer and Tim Novotney of Freeland; Jillian McGeehin is the daughter of Larry and Amy McGeehin of Sugarloaf; and Andrew Blasko is the son of Andrew Blasko ‘84, Freeland and Renee Lapchak, Mountain Top. Mrs. Jennifer Novotney, MMI English Department Chair, serves as the contest advisor.
The Israel T. & Mildred Klapper Memorial Holocaust Essay Contest marked its 27th anniversary this year. The contest is sponsored jointly by the Hazleton Jewish Community Council and the Greater Hazleton Ministerial Association. It features Middle School (grades 7 and 8), High School (grades 9-12) and Post High School categories. Students in the Middle School and High School categories are asked to submit an essay that is no more than 300 words on the given topic. A panel of judges chosen by the Greater Hazleton Ministerial Association read each essay and selected the winners.
Photo Caption: Andrew Blasko, Jillian McGeehin, Serena Novotney, and Jennifer Novotney, Advisor.