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FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- Annie Robinson, an 11th-grader at Aurora High School, was awarded a four-year $50,000 scholarship at the fifth annual "Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out!" essay contest ceremony which took place for the second year at Severance Hall in Cleveland.
She is a member of the National Honor Society, and is the national spokeswoman for Wigs for Kids and enjoys public speaking and writing. She is interested in attending journalism school in the fall of 2014 and continuing her work with Wigs for Kids.
Kelly Knaser of Wickliffe High School and Robert Edwards of Max Hayes High School received first and second runnerup four-year scholarships of $25,000 and $15,000, respectively. Twenty-one other students in grades 6-12 received awards.
The event was presented by Dealer Tire, KeyBank and Cleveland Clinic, and featured an invocation by the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and remarks from Museum co-founder Milton Maltz and Executive Director Lynda A. Bender.
WKYC Channel 3 Weekend News anchor and education reporter Kim Wheeler served as master of ceremonies for the second year.
A total of 1,600 students from seven counties - Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit - shared their stories by submitting essays this year.
Since the contest's creation five years ago by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, more than 8,000 students have participated in the contest, expressing their thoughts on combating hatred and discrimination in their schools and communities and committing to respond to future acts of intolerance.
A TOTAL OF $500,000 has been awarded in scholarships and prizes to Northeast Ohio students since 2009. Matt Soble, the winner of the first "Stop the Hate" and who graduates college this year, returned to serve as one of the judges.
Essays are scored on content, writing, originality and creativity, and utilization of the theme of personal responsibility.
At the dramatic awards ceremony, each finalist read his or her essay aloud for final scoring by a blue-ribbon panel of judges. Their essays addressed a variety of issues -- from living with alopecia and mental illness to LGBT issues and economic diversity, and offered heartfelt and innovative solutions.
The event featured performances by the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School Flag Line, Greater Cleveland Young Marines, John F. Kennedy High School First Lady Hi Steppers and National Honor Society of Avon Lake High School.
Students from Whitney Young School and Martin Luther King Jr. High School in the Cleveland metropolitan school district performed Retro Raps, performances expressing their thoughts on stopping discrimination, hatred and violence through music.
For complete results and more information on the contest, visit "Stop the Hate."
The contest is open to juniors and seniors in public and private schools, as well as home-schooled students.
They and younger students compete for cash prizes, class visits to the Museum and resource materials for their schools. Maltz Museum receives public support with local tax dollars from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture to preserve and enrich the region's artistic and cultural heritage.
See Robinson's essay on Page 5