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

Senior Division

1st Place Senior Multimedia


Haley Hernandez

Cape Henry Collegiate School

Teacher - Ms. Amy Martin


From Paper to Plastic

The main focus of this animatic is helping to protect the environment through the use of sustainable, reusable, and biodegradable materials. The story follows a high school girl who, upon discovering an injured sea turtle, is inspired to take action against the destruction of our planet Earth. Please note that the "x"s on her calendar represent the dates that she will go to educate people about how plastic is harmful to the environment. My inspiration behind this story was the devestating Australian wildfires and the plastic I see washed up in my backyard every day. I believe that when one person decides to stand up for the health and safety of our planet, they will inspire others to take action. Each person has the power to change the world for the better, and when a community rallies together, they can set a plan in motion that will change the world forever.

2nd Place Senior Multimedia


Aleena Guluzian

Cape Henry Collegiate School

Teacher - Ms. Amy Martin


Holocaust Soldier

The video's purpose is to show the amount of strength and effort the soldiers in the Holocaust put into liberating the Jews. My dance is meant to show that the strength of the soldiers has impacted many people, including me, to help others and not give up.

3rd Place Senior Multimedia


Kiera Cleveland

Oscar Smith High School

Teacher - Ms. Cristina Foss



My goal in creating this work is to call attention to the mental entrapment responsible for propagating recidivism in the United States prison system. The structure of the sestina in the first poem mimics the cyclical nature of prisoners returning back to prison upon release. Due to a lack of support systems, people leave prison with the same criminalizing mentality they had when they were first charged, a mindset worsened from the harsh, policing environment of prison and deep feelings of inferiority and guilt. Bringing education opportunities into prisons not only provides knowledge but also a means of liberating the mind to see new possibilities. It helps people in prison write a new narrative for themselves. Counseling and mentorship helps sustain this progress so that individuals can apply it to the outside world instead of lapsing back into crime. Mental walls knocked down with empathy, anything is possible.

Honorary Mention Senior Multimedia


Nadiah Barekzi

Oscar Smith High School

Teacher - Ms. Cristina Foss


I am Not a Terrorist

Islamophobia is an issue that is greatly affecting America today. This is an idea that was fueled by the 9/11 terrorist attack. This terrorism was used to represent a large group of people by a few extremist members. This type of stereotype hurts Muslims and the people spreading the hate. Being a hateful society hurts all of its members because it creates a need to bring others down and forces the continuation of hate. A way to help the American people would be to become more open-minded. This would prevent not only Islamophobia, but many other forms of social injustice. To create an open-minded society educational leaders should begin to encourage children in school to practice open-mindedness. Teachers could include activities on overcoming bias and educate about differences. Starting in the educational system would create a generation of individuals more accepting of differences, and would also influence their parents.


Junior Division

1st Place Junior Multimedia


Kaitlyn Calkin & Kate Rotolo

Virginia Beach Middle School

Teacher - Ms. Mary Long


Murder on Ricky Road

We take a humorous look at the concept of stereotypes, focusing on labels society puts on people based on race, gender and religion. This approach demonstrates how stereotypes are utterly ridiculous. Discrimination is real, and the impacts are hard to heal. Mental attacks can even lead to bodily harm like suicide and acts of violence.

Stereotypes can't be put into words very well. Film helps us see these stereotypes for what they are. This video is incapable of covering the discrimination some people go through, but hopefully it will help others recognize what is happening around them. 

The ending is purposefully open-ended. It allows the viewer to think and maybe even find themselves trying to defend her. We hope you are able to appreciate the meaning and work put into this film. Enjoy!

2nd Place Junior Multimedia


Aiden Clark

Virginia Beach Middle School

Teacher - Ms. Mary Long


Sons and Daughters of Earth...

Hear the animals large and small plea for help for Mother Earth, their species, and their habitats. Listen to their voices and see the images of their destruction in my multimedia submission, "Sons and Daughters of Earth..." These stewards of Mother Earth hope the human will think before they act or their species will be lost for all of time. I wanted their voices heard because human change is imperative so that these magnificent animals can walk the planet for generations to come. We must listen to them and make changes so that we can have a brighter, better world full of nature's beautiful animals.

3rd Place Junior Multimedia


Bradley Cederholm, Benjamin Muckian & Carter Wood

Great Bridge Middle School

Teacher - Ms. Ashley Mansell


Gustav Mikuli: A Light in the Darkness

This entry into The 2020 Elie Wiesel Visual Arts Competition was a form of video in which the beginning half was filmed between the three entrants about the topic, before the latter half was a small presentation of the topic with narration by the formerly mentioned entrants. This collection of clips, narration, and pictures displays the life and works of Gustav Mikulai, a hero during World War II who saved countless peoples' lives. This video also depicts how Gustav Mikulai's actions can inspire future generations to pick the right path in a time of crisis.

Honorary Mention Junior Multimedia


Max Libman

Countryside School, Champaign, IL

Teacher - Ms. Sarah Predmore


We Must Bear Witness

We must listen to these powerful words of Elie Wiesel, and we must never forget the horrific events of the Holocaust. I feel a responsibility as a Jew to share the stories of those murdered by the Nazis and those survivors who have since passed. I have done that through filmmaking, a passion of mine. I created a documentary in honor of my great-grandmother and shortened it for this submission. I have taken my documentary and presentation and shared it with over 500 people to date. With the recent rise of antisemitism, it is up to my generation to make sure history does not repeat itself by sharing the stories of the past to inspire a brighter future.