Continuing a Legacy Through the 2017 Student Essay Contest

Posted by Stacey Perlman on April 17, 2017

In March, 64 lawyers from Holland & Knight were busy poring over thousands of essays. These weren’t from legal briefings or court hearings. They were submissions from over 5,200 students who entered the 2017 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest. The global law firm’s Holocaust Remembrance Project, which is part of its charitable foundation, generously funded the contest but their lawyers also took an extra step by volunteering to review the essays.

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Topics: Contests, Essay Contest, Holocaust, legacy

Student Voice: The Power of Identity

Posted by Stacey Perlman on March 1, 2017

Cicada Scott, the winner of last year's Facing History Together Student Essay Contest, wrote an eloquent essay about life as a non-binary gender teenIn light of recent news about the rollback of federal protection for transgender students, Cicada's reflection on the power of understanding one's own identity is more timely than ever. Read our Q&A with Cicada and check out this year's prompt for the 2017 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest. Submissions are open until March 15. Students and teachers will have the chance to win more than $25,000 in scholarships and awards.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices, Writing, LGBTQ

Asking Big Questions with the 2017 Student Essay Contest

Posted by Laura Tavares on February 6, 2017

I came to the teaching profession with big ambitions. Like many readers of this blog, I imagine, I’ve always loved learning, and I enjoy the effervescent and unpredictable company of kids. As a first-generation college graduate, I know firsthand how education can transform an individual’s life. But I also entered the classroom with the conviction that schools have a communal and civic purpose, too—that they are the root and heart of democratic societies.

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Topics: Student Voices, Contests, Holocaust, Writing

Behind the Essay: A Q&A with Student Contest Winner Cicada Scott

Posted by Stacey Perlman on June 7, 2016

Cicada Scott, a senior from Manitou Springs, Colorado, received the $2,500 Benjamin B. Ferencz Upstander Award for the 2016 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest. To celebrate LGBT Pride Month in June, we go behind the scenes to learn more about what inspired Cicada to open up about being a non-binary gender teenager. Preferring pronouns like "them" and "they," Cicada describes non-binary as a "catchall category for people who are neither exclusively male or exclusively female."

After graduation, they plan to attend college at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They are looking into studying robotics but are still deciding the right major. 

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices, Writing, LGBTQ

Vote Today! Help Us Choose This Year's Student Contest Winners!

Posted by Aileen McQuillen on April 18, 2016

We couldn’t believe it ourselves: Over 4,000 students entered our 2016 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest!

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices

Q&A with Shireen Afzal: Her Advice for Students Entering the 2016 Student Essay Contest

Posted by Stacey Perlman on March 10, 2016

Shireen Afzal is a senior at the Woburn Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada. She was one of two finalists in the 2015 Student Essay Contest. In this Q&A, she’ll share her thoughts on the contest, what motivated her, and give advice for students entering this year’s contest inspired by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices, Harper Lee

Q&A with Arvaughn Williams: Advice for Entering the 2016 Student Essay Contest

Posted by Stacey Perlman on March 1, 2016

Arvaughn Williams is one of two finalists from the Facing History 2015 Student Essay Contest. He entered his spoken word poem as a student at City Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco, California. Arvaughn shares his thoughts about what the contest did for him and his advice for students entering this year’s contest inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird. Stay tuned for another Q&A with Shireen Afzhal, our other finalist from last year, for more encouraging words about entering the 2016 Student Essay Contest.

The deadline for submissions is March 16th at 5:00 p.m. ESTYou could win some fantastic prizes for you and your teacher so get ready to write!

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, English Language Arts, Contests, Writing, ELA

My Mockingbirds

Posted by Margaret Stohl on February 18, 2016

Harper Lee's death reminds us that “To Kill a Mockingbird” is not only a classic work of American literature, but has also opened important conversations around the themes of race, justice, and morality. The day before Lee passed away, we published the following essay by writer Margaret Stohl, co-author of the bestselling young adult novel, “Beautiful Creatures,” on why “To Kill a Mockingbird” mattered so deeply to her. Our Teaching Mockingbird curriculum helps educators bring the historical context behind the novel into their classrooms.

I have a problematic relationship with conformity. Though I was born in Los Angeles, two generations of my family came from a small town in rural Southern Utah, and they carried the seeds of that community with them to California long after they left the town itself behind. As I grew up, I noticed that my family was nothing like our neighbors or my friends at school. We had different views, different beliefs, and different approaches to life. At the same time, the longer I lived in California, the less I fit in with my own family. That’s probably why, when I read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird as a teenager, I felt an immediate connection to the novel’s main character, Scout Finch.

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Topics: Insider, To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices, Writing, Identity, Harper Lee, Margaret Stohl

Join the Conversation: Enter the 2016 Student Essay Contest!

Posted by Stacey Perlman on February 3, 2016

The foundation of a good story is a cast of characters that shape our thoughts about the world. That’s certainly the case for Scout Finch in Harper Lee’s beloved novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. As a young white girl, she is forced to question her community’s spoken and unspoken rules when her father defends a black man falsely accused of a crime in 1930s Alabama. She and her brother, Jem, struggle to define their identities in relationship to the values of their small, segregated Southern town.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices, ELA

Meet the Winners of Our First Annual Student & Alumni Upstander Contest!

Posted by Emma Samler on March 26, 2015

We at Facing History are so pleased to announce the winners of our first annual Facing History Together Student & Alumni Upstander Scholarship Contest.

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Topics: Contests, Student Voices, Benjamin B. Ferencz, Choosing to Participate, Students, Spoken Word, Toronto, San Francisco Bay Area, Facing History Together, Upstanders, Video

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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