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Senior wins 2nd place in poetry contest

April 01, 2022
By KCS Staff

Through a powerful poem expressing a Holocaust survivor’s story of “conquer[ing] unbelievable odds,” Maile Fowler '22 earned 2nd place in the high school poetry division of the 23rd annual Holocaust Art and Writing Contest. The Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education at Chapman University, the 1939 Society, the Samueli Foundation, and Yossie & Dana Hollander sponsor this prestigious international competition. This year, the contest drew entries from 258 registered schools and thousands of students from across the U.S. and eleven other countries. Maile’s recognition as a finalist is the second for KCS, following Emily Kuwaye’s '19 winning poem in 2018. 

For their prompt, contest participants identified a part of the survivor’s testimony that was “a source of courage, resilience, or hope” as the survivor moved forward in life after the war. Maile’s poem, "Hate Will Never Win," voices Celina Biniaz’s inspiring story to combat and eventually defeat the fear, hate, contempt that once lingered in her heart. Maile credits her 3rd quarter European Literature curriculum, in which students read and studied Night and The Hiding Place, for providing the context from which to better understand what Ms. Biniaz endured. Maile’s poignant poem utilizes imagery and figurative language to build to her final insight. 

A photo of Maile and Literature Teacher Mrs. Fong (above) was shared during the live stream presentation of the awards ceremony held on March 11 at Chapman University. When reflecting on her 2nd place recognition, Maile acknowledges, “In a time where I am constantly searching for my talents and gifts, it is nice to see, tangibly, what skills God has given to me.” The process of composing the poem also made a profound impact on Maile. As she dove “deep into the words” through her writing, she experienced a new appreciation and insight into the power of courage and forgiveness that resonates throughout Celina’s story. Congratulations, Maile, on your award-winning poem and perpetuating the legacy of Celina Biniaz!