2022 Winner

Song of Sonya

I am a teenage, Jewish girl.

An ordinary everyday face.

You see me at the market.

You see me at the village.

I am determined and courageous.

I long for an adventure of my own — freedom.

Snow falls down from the sky.

A nice winter eve and snow blankets the town.

My mother breaks the silence.

Calling for me to come inside.

You are my flesh and blood.

You gave me life.

But you don’t trust me enough to let me go.

Though I have lived thirteen years.

You don’t even know me.

Though you should.

You will never get to see me grow up.


You live across town.

You hate me for being a Jew.

You decided I should die.

You burned my home to the ground.

Shouts of fury come from outside.

Men with torches and guns storm our town.

They burn our houses and kill anyone who flees.

I hear my mother and father shriek.

I smell roasting flesh.

I breathe in smoke and ash.

Wood wreathed in fire falls on me.

Pain washes over me as everything fades to black.

You don’t even know me.

Though you should.

You tried to kill me.

But am I gone for good?.


Snow falls on frozen bodies.

I am alive but I am alone.

I am terrified of the silence surrounding me.

I have no time for Shiva.

Everyone is gone — the rabbi, my village, my Mother

Sadness overwhelms me, but

For weeks and months I walk.

Fleeing for my life.

I finally reach the port.

No ticket in my hand.

You stand by the sea checking people’s tickets before they board the ship.

I sneak past you.

You will report me if you see me.

A refugee heading for my new home in America.

You don’t even know me.

Though you should.

We are the same.

I am human just like you.


The world doubted me.

I survived.

Mother, townsmen, ticket checker.

I am much more than just a girl.

I was the only survivor of a massacre.

I walked to this dock in England from Russia.

I boarded a ship headed for America.

I will survive and thrive in my new life.

Remembering and grieving the life I had.

Generations will know me.

I made their lives possible.

I am a survivor.


Natalie Weis

Sheridan School

Grade: 8


Chevy Chase, MD


Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

Too many

Dream for the Future:

To be an author, lawyer, and artist combination.

Inspirational Figure: