Alief Hastings Student Wins 2013 Yom HaShoah Scholarship
A 17-year-old Alief Hastings High School student is the winner of the 2013 Yom HaShoah scholarship given by Holocaust Museum Houston.
Jackie Lazo
Teacher Wendy Warren, left, with winner Jackie Lazo
and principal Jennifer Parker 

Jackie Lazo received the $500 scholarship to support her first year of college or university education during this year's Yom HaShoah commemoration on April 7.

The competition was open to graduating seniors who demonstrated leadership in stopping hatred, prejudice and apathy in their school or local community and were nominated by a school guidance counselor or teacher. Each student also submitted an essay of 750 to 1,000 words that explored the destruction of Jewish life in Europe as a result of the Holocaust and the need for Holocaust memorials today.

"I am so honored to receive this award," she said. "It inspires me to continue growing and learning as I move on to college. I want to continue being an upstander and make a difference in people’s lives."

Her teacher, Wendy Warren, said Jackie was "truly deserving of this honor. As a student in my Holocaust and Genocide Studies class, she expressed her shock and horror regarding the events of the Holocaust and her desire to make a difference in our school and community. She was so moved by meeting Holocaust survivors that she started an Upstanders Club on our campus.  Jackie is the rare student that is motivated to take action based on her passion and convictions. She is a true leader that is making a positive impact on this campus. She has inspired other students to action. Her greatest contribution has been to fight apathy, engage her peers and create of culture of caring at Hastings High School."

The scholarship was presented with the generous support of the David Barg Endowment Fund and the Morgan Family Endowment Fund.

Jackie's Essay

"After the Holocaust, life was never the same. Families were damaged physically and mentally. Europe was the place this occurred, and life afterwards presented many other obstacles. Many Jewish people were afraid to go back to their homes because of the antisemitism. There were many anti-Jewish riots in Poland, the largest one in Kielce which killed 42 Jews and many others. It was not until December 1945 that President Harry Truman issued a directive that loosened quota restrictions on immigration to the U.S. of persons displaced by the Nazi regime. Approximately 28,000 Jews migrated. Many Jewish refugees in Europe immigrated as displaced people to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.

"Having a memorial day for the people who were killed in the Holocaust is more important now than ever. This is the best way to show respect to the innocent people that were killed and also to remind people that this should never be repeated. The way survivors shared their stories always captivated me. Every detail remembered from every day of the hell they were put in is relived every time their story is shared; for that, they are heroes. My life has changed ever since I learned about the Holocaust. I never stopped to think about other people the way I do now.

"In my school, everyone has something they are good at, like band, soccer or football. I never found myself in a certain group. My fear was to graduate without feeling like I was part of something. Holocaust class made me want to help people out more than ever. I shared the way I felt with a friend and after many discussions we came up with our club "The Upstanders." We want to teach our classmates about our historic past and the present injustices. We need to stand up for what is right. It doesn’t take the president, a famous artist, or the newest inventor of technology to make an impact in someone’s life. It only took my teachers belief that we can change to create a better future for me to be so determined to impact other people’s lives.

"My very first time attending a Holocaust memorial was last year. I didn’t know what to expect but never did I think I would come out of that synagogue changed. Feeling more thankful for my life, and that I would like to feel that I accomplished something by helping others. The very first survivor to bring tears to my eyes was the oldest Holocaust survivor in the memorial. When she took her picture book out of her bag with the pictures of two beautiful kids, it really touched me. In class, I learned what happened to kids that age and to see the pride she had in them broke me to pieces. She didn’t have to bother meeting us or make the effort of showing us the pictures of what seemed a very happy family, but she did and never did she ask if we were Jewish or what religion we believed in. She didn’t have to speak her actions and her expression said it all. She didn’t want us to go through the same. Never in my life will I forget that moment and many others that we had that evening that’s the point of a memorial and a reason of why we should have memorials to speak to any religion any race and let them know that this cannot happen again.

"We must be neither perpetrator nor bystanders. Just like Ellie Wiesel says, “I swore never to be silent whenever or wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Yes, we are young or little you can say, but giants with our belief that for all those innocent lives that have been taken we are their voice and that change begins with us."

-- Jackie Lazo


Upcoming Events for Educators
Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers

May 22-28, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Avrohm I. Wisenberg Multipurpose Learning Center

Max M. Kaplan Summer Institute for Educators

July 6-9, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Avrohm I. Wisenberg Multipurpose Learning Center

Holocaust Museum Houston Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004-6804, Tel: 713-942-8000, E-mail: Powered by Nodus Solutions