May 24, 1999
(Left to right) Henry Friedman; Sunrise Elementary students Sarah Caley and Jessica White; Dee Simon; and (top) State Sen. Ken Jacobson.
Two sixth grade Sunrise Elementary students, Jessica White and Sarah Caley, were honored at an award ceremony at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle for their entries in the Washington State Annual Jacob Friedman Holocaust Creative Writing Contest.
Answering the question, "Why is the study of the Holocaust important to Americans," the girls' entries placed second and third, respectively, in the 5th and 6th grade category. Both students received awards and U.S. Savings Bonds.
After the ceremony, Leo Hymas, a World War II veteran who helped liberate the German concentration camp at Buchenwald, talked with Jessica. He had met her when he spoke to her class, and her essay, "Bittersweet Chocolate," was inspired by his speech.
Hymas had spoken of how when liberating a camp, he met one of the survivors, a young girl, and gave her a piece of chocolate--the little girl's first in many years. He presented both girls with medals he had received while serving in the war.
Excerpts from the essays
"Bittersweet Chocolate," by Jessica White
These are just a few of the hateful, prejudice crimes committed against a whole race of people. History shows us that we continue to practice such hateful actions. These facts are bitter, the memories are very dark, like chocolate, for all who tell their stories of what they lived through.
I pray for the sweetness of a better tomorrow, because of what we have learned about our past.
"If We Forget," by Sarah Caley
We cannot undo the things that were done by the ones who came before us. We cannot take back the things Hitler said. We cannot change the past.
All we can do is learn from history and honor those who knew what was right. We have to remember the people and the stories. Each one has a special meaning, none can be forgotten.