First Place High School winner—Pallavi Datta
First Place Junior High School winner— Jakob Lamb

The award ceremony for the 2021 B’nai B’rith Capital Area Holocaust Essay Contest (BBHEC) was held virtually, via Zoom, on Wednesday, June 2. Students read their essays, and received cash awards. Assembly Member Phil Steck was keynote speaker. The 57-minute event was open to the community and now may be viewed on YouTube via the url link:

High School winners were: First Place ($250) Pallavi Datta, Niskayuna High School; Sponsoring teacher —Kathryn McCarty. Second Place ($175) Fatimah Schultz, Guilderland High School. Sponsoring teacher — Diane Guerin. Third Place ($125) Sam Sosnovsky, Guilderland High School. Sponsoring teacher —Brenna Autrey.

Middle School winners were: First Place ($200) Jakob Lamb, Loudonville Christian School. Sponsoring teacher—Michelle Kaufman. Second Place ($175) Anya Miller, William. S. Hackett Middle School. Sponsoring teacher—Erin Zanello. Third Place ($100) Sasha Goodman, Iroquois Middle School, Sponsoring teacher — Michael Jesep.

During the program, Bob Michaels, BBHEC chairperson, thanked the judging panel of Peter Bent, Danielle Haft, Patricia Luria, Sally Magid, and Randy Simon and Bill Pearlman as judging panel coordinator and also Jessica Many outgoing  panel member.

This year’s essay topic, also published on the contest website (, was:

“The Holocaust of WW-II began before it happened, by people having a misplaced loyalty to the enemy within. We now have seen something like this in our own country. How does one fight the enemy within to prevent another Holocaust?”