The opinions expressed in these student films belong to the student filmmakers and do not necessarily express views of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Senior Visual Arts

1st Place Senior Visual Arts

Gavin Ventura
Tallwood High School
Teacher - Ms. Kathleen LaRoue


Facets of Truth
My work delves into the emotions brought on by the reality of the truth of the Holocaust. The facets of the face, which communicates three distinct emotions, exhibit the reaction to the atrocities enacted by the Nazis unto the Jewish people. Sadness: a deep emotional pain that causes expression of grief across the face on the left for the lives of a generation that has ceased to exist. Shock: break away from the sadness to absorb what events had occurred, which is the middle face. This face questions the morality of man. Why would man slaughter those of his own? How could an ethnic genocide ever be rationalized? Could another horror like this ever prevail again? As these thoughts fester in the mind, the third face is revealed.
Searching for hope, it looks hopefully at the observer. Even if the nightmares of the Holocaust came to life, he hopes future nightmares could be prevented.

2nd Place Senior Visual Arts

Brianna Arluk
First Colonial High School

Teacher - Mr. Mark Butts


A Path to Hope
Holocaust survivor, David Katz, is the inspiration for my piece. As a 13-year old child, he was without family, food, security. He only has a path ahead of him in hopes of safety at the Swiss border. For six months, he hid from soldiers and found food on the ground and in trees. This sparked my idea of a dense forest with interlacing, twisted branches, and roots with a clear “path to hope” for the young lone traveler to hide in, while he travels forward towards the light. Spiritually, the number eight represents one-step above normal human and natural limitations, like the story of Hanukkah. Mr. Katz, as a child alone, exhibited faith and courage beyond normal human limitations. We are all sometimes alone, walking along a tough path. However, with extreme faith and courage, we can always move out of the darkness and finally into the light!

3rd Place Senior Visual Arts

Emily Skroch
Cape Henry Collegiate
Teacher - Mr. Jeff Warden


My piece, Shatter, reflects how often pictures on social media platforms, such as Instagram, do not reflect the true life or feelings of the poster. Though given a platform to speak, many people neglect their opportunities to spread truth rather than the easier lies, or even to ignore a problem entirely. In my work, the girl is breaking through the façade of her phone screen to expose the ugly truth of her feelings, just as a façade needed to be broken in order for groups, such as the White Rose, to expose the horrors of the Nazi regime.

Honorable Mention Senior Visual Arts

Ella Tessitore
Tallwood High School
Teacher - Ms. Kathleen LaRoue


Modern Blindness
This drawing, called Modern Blindness, shows how social media can blind us. Every day, we are exposed to constant misinformation from everywhere online, which can give us false preconceptions about the world around us. When we let these things cloud our vision with lies, it can be hard to notice the things that are happening right in front of us. Even before social media, it was easy for people’s preconceptions to get in their way, and for bystanders in Germany to neglect what was happening all around them.



Honorable Mention Senior Visual Arts

Syeda Safdar
Grassfield High School
Teacher - Mr. Jay McCraw


Spreading My Truth
I believe that social media is a powerful tool that one can use to let their voice be heard. It can spread influence on the world in this day and age. The megaphone was used to symbolize how I would use moral courage to spread social justice through everyday words on social media, which can be seen on the side of the megaphone. I used dark and light pencils to emphasize the megaphone in the center of the artwork. Speaking through the megaphone can be just like speaking up for injustice in real life: one may be scared of the reaction that they receive from others. The color appearing on the figure’s hand, as she or he is reaching it, shows that spreading one’s values and beliefs reveal one’s true self to the world. The world could become an increasingly better place, if people use their words and actions to stand up for social justice, even in the smallest forms.

Chairs’ Choice Senior Visual Arts

Trayvon Almond
Lakeland High School
Teacher - Ms. Angela White


I wanted to draw something that captivated how good the life of the Jews and the Africans were before they were interrupted by other races. I drew two images, one of a Jew before and during the Holocaust and the other of an African before and during slavery. Jews were able to have long hair and have beards; but, once the Germans came, they made them shave it all off. I saw this one thing a lot from images online, so I put it in my art. In terms of the slaves, they did not have to shave anything off, but I wanted to show the marks and bruises from the whip that would hit them. The tears on the African’s eyes show that being whipped was scaring mentally and physically.

Chairs’ Choice Senior Visual Arts

Sophie Bement
Frank W. Cox High School
Teacher - Ms. Jessica Van Veehuyzen


Scholls’ White Rose
Sophie and Hans Scholl took a courageous action by standing against Nazi Germany. The White Rose activist group and the flyer that they used inspired me to create a physical rose and objectify their words. I collaged a copy of the pamphlet to the base and the portraits of Hans and Sophie to the side. I burned a quote from Sophie Scholl onto the front to represent that her words are everlasting. I also attached lights to the interior to symbolize the white rose’s light in the darkness. They live on through my art, and I took care to represent them in every element.

Chairs’ Choice Senior Visual Arts

Delondo Davis
Woodrow Wilson High School
Teacher - Ms. Amy Kerner


I call this piece, Reliving, because we are reliving things that led to the Holocaust, and it could happen again if things do not change in America. I put the gun pointing at the school to show that people shoot up schools, and children are dying. However, no one is doing anything to change it. The flag shows how America is falling apart from its treatment of its people. We keep reliving the bad stories on the news and social media. We are hurting each other instead of finding solutions.

Junior Visual Arts

1st Place Junior Visual Arts

Mackenzie Croft
Great Bridge Middle School
Teacher - Ms. Ashley Mansell


Prevent the Burn
You can’t undo a burn, and you can’t undo history. We shouldn’t forget history no matter how bad it is. There’s a famous saying, “if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.” No matter how much we want to forget tragedies like the Holocaust, we can’t. We must remember and honor the past so that we can prevent a similar situation in the future. The burnt book is symbolic of the Nazis devastating impact on history and, much like the burn on the book, it can’t be undone or ignored. The Holocaust is something that needs to be talked about. We need to keep talking about the past so that we can learn for the future.

2nd Place Junior Visual Arts

Caitlin Lindgren
The Williams School
Teacher - Ms. Amy Lindgren


The Colors of Truth
I am shocked by the Nazis and sad at the challenges the Jews had to face; but, if no one heard survivor testimonies in all of their colors, then we would forever live in lies. Alfred Dreyfus’s testimony hit me in particular. His constant run from the Nazis and his struggle to stay one-step ahead was not only heartbreaking but also inspiring. He struggled so much and still dared to share his story. It is important for people, especially young ones, to hear survivor testimonies to limit hate and hate-based violence. Young people are the future. If they don’t know what really happened, they will grow up blind, ignorant of the truth. It can be hard to show young people, or anyone, that our world is far from perfect, that it can be nasty and cruel, but they have to know the pain of the truth for a brighter future.

3rd Place Junior Visual Arts

Catherine Gusentine
The Williams School
Teacher - Ms. Blair Ellson


For the past few years, the country has been divided on the issue of kneeling during the National Anthem. Through the internet and social media, people have expressed very strong opinions and feelings.  The majority feel that kneeling is disrespectful to the flag and our military. We mostly heard how wrong that was, rather than the real meaning behind the kneeling. The kneeling was a form of protest against racial injustice. The internet and social media do not allow people to have a face-to-face conversation, and can keep us from the truth. The military does not defend the flag but defends the constitution. My art represents the division caused by the information on the internet. The sewing of the flag represents how it can be repaired if we could have just discussed the issue truthfully.

Honorable Mention Junior Visual Arts

Adrianna Bievre
Norfolk Collegiate School
Teacher - Ms. Chrissy Cooper


Past and Present
The events of the Holocaust left a large impact on a generation of people, which continues to affect their lives today. The Holocaust was a horrendous event in the world’s history, which caused unimaginable fatalities. I illustrated the impact of the Holocaust had on the generation that survived the events, and that generation’s children: the past and present. The kneeling girl represents the children of those who survived the Holocaust while the arms surrounding her represent the few people who lived through those events and survived. You can see how the arms of the survivors are being consumed by the red sand as their time on earth is coming to a close. We are losing time to learn from their stories and document them so that we can educate future generations about that history, to prevent them from that same mistake people have made in the past. I used studio watercolor paper and watercolors to illustrate my piece.

Chairs’ Choice Junior Visual Arts

Logan Bromley
Saint Matthew’s Catholic School
Teacher - Ms. Jennifer Avis


The Weight of 6 Million
I created a relic to represent the number of Jewish people that were murdered in the Holocaust. I chose 6 million tears for the sadness of those who waited in concentration camps to die. I chose 6 million footsteps like the footsteps for a memorial walk; a walk that would take you from here to the Pacific Ocean. I chose a minute of silence for each victim. A moment of silence that would last for more than 11 years. I wanted a concrete visual of 6 million. This is why I created a book containing exactly 6 million O’s to represent the Jewish people that were murdered during the Holocaust. To me, the O’s look like faces, one of them is of Anne Frank, one of the six million that did not deserve this fate.