» Education/Outreach   » School and Student Programs   » Announcing the 2015 Yom HaShoah Scholarship   » 2016 Scholarship Winner
Cristo Rey Student Wins 2016 Yom HaShoah Scholarship
 
An 18-year-old student at Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School is the winner of the 2016 Yom HaShoah scholarship given by Holocaust Museum Houston.

Daniela Mackin received the $500 scholarship to support her first year of college or university education during this year's Yom HaShoah commemoration on May 1.

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.

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

Remembering the Holocaust Today

Above the entrance of the main exhibit at Holocaust Museum Houston are the words, "It happened. Therefore, it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say." These
words echo the most imperative reason as to why bearing witness to the Holocaust is still
important today. The Holocaust teaches us what happens when the voices of the good become drowned out by the voices of the wicked, especially when no one does anything to stop them.

Complicity, which is a consequence of ignorance, is the main proponent of hatred. It is incredibly easy for someone to remain complicit, even satisfied with their own complicity if they are disinterested in and/or lack knowledge of the people or issues being neglected. However, when that person is enlightened and shown the harmful effects of their own ignorance, they can become inspired.to adjust the way they see the world.

The Holocaust Museum Houston aims to educate people about the dangers of hatred, prejudice, and apathy. It serves not only to honor those who perished in the Holocaust, but to tell the stories of those who survived it. There is a saying, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." For this reason, keeping the stories and memories of the Holocaust alive is vital. Hitler believed he could get away with genocide because many before him did, in fact, manage to do so. While thousands of people were dying each day at the hands of Nazi Germany, Hitler was asking, with confidence that for he and the Nazi party the outcome would be the same, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

Hitler would be correct to believe that no one would remember the Holocaust; if those who bore witness, those who refused to remain silent, had not bravely spoken up. If survivors, soldiers, and others had not shared their experiences with the world, the Holocaust would be lost to history. Likewise, if the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of those who originally bore witness looked past the events of the Holocaust as if they had never happened, it would just as surely, be lost to history. This is why it is so important to remember. The moment we no longer remember, the moment we cease to carry on the legacy of all who lost family, friends, and even their lives to hatred and ignorance in the Holocaust, is the moment we become vulnerable to hatred and ignorance once again. I used to believe that ignorance is bliss; but I see now that the blessings that come with simply being aware of the struggles and triumphs of others, far outweigh any kind of bliss ignorance can provide. The Holocaust never should have happened; but because it did, we must learn from it. We must be aware of why it happened and how it happened so we can prevent it from happening again.
 
I am fortunate enough to have befriended Helen Colin, one of the many survivors who helped found the Holocaust Museum Houston. I met her about a year and a half ago, and since then, she has grown to be a huge part of my life. She has taught me so much about who I am and what I stand for. It is beyond astonishing to me that someone who has lost so much, who has seen more evil than I could ever possibly imagine, still has such faith and hope in humanity. I asked her once how she remains so loving and optimistic, despite having been in ghettos and death camps from the time she was 16 to her liberation on her 21st birthday. She responded,"! have seen what hate can do and I want no part of it. There is no room in my heart for hatred or despair. Only for love, only for hope." She inspires me to live as she lives: unwavering in love and hope against a world that makes it so easy to believe goodness is not possible. I will never again tum a blind eye to injustice, knowing that my actions can and do make a difference.

I cannot forget the Holocaust, partly because all that I have seen and heard is not easily forgotten, but also because I feel obligated to remember. It is up to my generation and every generation after to preserve the message that the Holocaust teaches: to always be vigilant of prejudice, and to always speak up against injustice when we witness it. Ultimately, we must recognize that each of us, despite our differences, is still a human being worthy of love and respect. We are responsible for one another and when we remain silent while others are suffering, it only perpetuates injustice. With all of the hatred, prejudice, and apathy that still exists in the world today, it is incredibly important that we continue to remember the lessons of the Holocaust. They are ones far too costly to forget.

--Daniela Mackin

Upcoming Events for Educators
 
"Holocaust 101: Teaching about the Holocaust"

July 5, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 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

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