Hamilton Jewish Federation & Enkin Family Recognize HWDSB Students and Educator
Four members of our community were recently honoured for their Holocaust learnings and teachings.
Each year, the Hamilton Jewish Federation and the Enkin family partner with HWDSB to recognize students and staff. The Sharon Enkin Awards were established as a way to pay tribute to a figure who inspired countless young minds. Initiatives such as Painting in the Park and The Golden Horseshoe Players are just two examples of how Sharon Enkin served Hamilton during her lifetime. Children and education were always at the forefront of her community service and Enkin’s family is continuing right where she left off.
The Sharon Enkin Student Award on The Holocaust was open to all students in Grade 10-12. Applicants were asked to respond to a question using any medium of their choice. This year’s question asked: Although Auschwitz was liberated 75 years ago, the lessons of the Holocaust are more important than ever in our world. Why is it so important in 2020 for young people to learn the lessons that the Holocaust shows us?
First Place – Aliyah Sumar (Westmount Secondary School)
For her entry, Aliyah chose to respond to the question through a poem. Her piece is broken up into four sections, with each part answering a different portion of the prompt. The poem discusses what the Holocaust was, the lessons to come of it, how it is viewed today, and why children need to learn the history behind it. Aliyah’s submission does an excellent job of sharing stories from her Grandpa’s time in Poland, while also providing her own understanding of the event.
Second Place – Erika Ehrenberg (Ancaster High School)
Erika also chose to answer the question through poetry. The poem uses imageries of darkness and light to represent the horrors and triumph that many experienced during the Holocaust. Erika reminds us that even though this tragedy took place many years ago, there is always a chance for hate to return. She tells readers that we need to do our best to hold onto the light when the darkness starts to creep back into our lives.
Third Place – Diana Jung (Westmount Secondary School, formerly Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School)
Diana’s entry is a stunning piece of visual art that highlights various images of discrimination that have developed over time. On one half on the art, she presents the horrors faced by many during the Holocaust. The other half touches upon social media and the modern forms of hate that many people deal with today. It is an incredible fusion of ideas that show why young people still need to learn the lessons of the Holocaust.
Along with the three student awards, the Hamilton Jewish Federation and Enkin Family also honour a HWDSB educator. The Sharon Enkin Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education is presented annually to an elementary or secondary teacher in any discipline who has demonstrated a commitment to teaching students about the Holocaust and its important lessons for humankind.
This year’s recipient is Glendale Secondary School Principal Barry Smith.
Smith’s passion for social justice education has been evident for almost two decades. In 2003, he became HWDSB’s first teacher to bring students to both Dachau and Auschwitz. This first-hand approach to Holocaust education proved to be useful, as he was able to return to the community with important lessons. Smith knew that he could not bring every student overseas, so he invited survivors into the classroom to share stories. These interactions allowed countless students to develop a greater understanding of the horrors that many Jewish people faced in the 20th century.
Despite his move into an administrative role, Smith has not forgotten about the importance of Holocaust education. He now aims to help other teachers through his work on HWDSB’s Genocide Course. Smith has even contributed to the course’s development on the provincial level and worked to transition the class online. His efforts ensure that students will not lose the chance to register for this important course during the transition to remote learning.
Congratulations to all the Sharon Enkin Award recipients! Holocaust education cannot be ignored and your work is greatly appreciated.