Cleveland Heights Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Victoria Lewis
- A freshman at
- Finalist in Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.
- Wrote about self-hate among teen girls and how she would stop it.
When her English teacher asked her to write about a type of hate and what she would do to stop it, 14-year-old Victoria Lewis didn't pick bullying or discrimination.
Lewis was inspired to write about self-hate among teens after noticing that some girls her age had cuts on their arms.
Her teacher, Donna Feldman, asked the class to write an essay for the third annual essay contest sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out. Lewis said she wrote the piece in the fall and was surprised to find out she was a finalist.
"I was excited at first because I really didn't plan on it — I forgot about it," said Lewis, a ninth-grader at the Mosaic Experience small school in Cleveland Heights High. "I didn't expect to win anything."
She is one of 25 finalists in grades six through 12 who will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 10 at Severance Hall. The 15 students in sixth through 10th grade will compete for cash prizes, class field trips to the museum and school supplies, according to a press release from the museum. Scholarships will be awarded to three of the 10 junior and senior finalists. There were 1,700 submissions from 142 school districts, and 200 community volunteers scored the student work.
Lewis, a cheerleader on the junior varsity squad and a member of the girls empowerment Leading Ladies at Heights High, said she proposed implementing group sessions for teens who are exhibiting signs of self-hate in her essay.
"It wouldn't be a scary environment. It would be safe," she said.
Do you know a Whiz Kid? Send your nominations to Cleveland Heights Patch editor Michelle.Simakis@patch.com