|The FHM Honors Exceptional Teens with Anne Frank Humanitarian Award
|May 23, 2018 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) recently honored the humanitarian efforts of 93 exceptional students with its annual Anne Frank Humanitarian Award (AFHA) receptions, held May 7th and 8th at the Museum.
The AFHA program recognizes those humanitarian actions that better the lives of others. By “doing the right thing,” recipients hold true to the spirit of Anne Frank who, in the face of hardships, endured and did not abandon her ideals. The AFHA program was created 18 years ago to focus attention on the positive actions of today’s teens. This year’s receptions featured the Senator Janet Cruz and retired Co-Anchor of WFLA News Channel 8 and AFHA Honorary Chair Gayle Sierens.
“Since 2001, The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Anne Frank Humanitarian Award has recognized over 1,100 high school juniors who embody the ideals and principles of the Museum and have made a conscious decision to better the lives of others. As role models for their peers and the community during their senior year and beyond, their gifts of kindness, altruism, and community service help to make the world a better place, and remind us that with their leadership our future is bright and hopeful,” said Irene Weiss, founder of the AFHA program.
The award, established in 2001, is presented to one junior in every public and major private high school in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. The honorees are nominated by their principals, guidance counselors, or teachers. These students are recognized both at their schools and at the Museum. Legislators, educators, family and friends were invited to join the Museum in honoring these students at the receptions. In addition, the AFHA recipients each received a glass plaque and a family membership.
“We are extremely proud to honor these 93 young humanitarians for the 2018-2019 school year. While their accomplishments are impressive, especially at this age, what makes AFHA honorees stand out among their peers is how they are already making a difference in their schools, in their communities, and beyond,” said Traci Klein, AFHA Committee Chair.
Some of the 2019 Anne Frank Humanitarian Award Honorees: Anuksha Wickramasinghe, Berkeley Preparatory School (Hillsborough County)Using her own photographs, Anuksha created a book to share the history and culture of Sri Lanka, her ancestral home. Profits benefit a Sri Lankan orphanage, especially crucial after the devastating 2004 tsunami and civil wars that have disrupted the country. At Grace Girls’ Home in Sri Lanka, Anuksha is working on building a library and an English mentorship program for the residents. She skypes with the girls every weekend and reads books with them in English, as fluency will provide more opportunities in the future. Anuksha volunteered on a community service trip to Peru and, on campus, she is a member of the Diversity Club and the Community Service Council.
Raghan Pickett, Pasco High School (Pasco County)As direct descendants of the victims of the 1923 Rosewood Massacre in Levy County, Raghan, her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother gave a school-wide presentation on the subject during Black History Month in February. She is co-president of Key Club, organizing and participating in numerous service initiatives both on and off campus. Raghan is the District 6 of Florida-Elks Lodge Oratorical Contest Scholarship Winner, and later this month she will advance to the State Association Contest in Maitland. Her speech topic is on The DREAM Act and the students and youth referred to as DREAMers. Cole Eicher, Calvary Christian High School (Pinellas County)At the age of 12 Cole was diagnosed with cancer and he has been in remission since October 2014. Cole’s initiative, “Gold Together,” is a program that has raised over $1 million dollars for pediatric cancer research, and now partners with the American Cancer Society. Cole has completed 50 speaking engagements at schools and sports stadiums, with professional athletes, and on podcasts, radio and television, and he raised $10,000 to create a teen lounge at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Cole is the recipient of a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award, he has participated in an Emmy Award-winning community service PSA, and he served on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Teen Advisory Council for three years.
Tayla Rosenthal, Lakewood Ranch High School (Manatee County)Tayla is the co-head of the North American Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, helping to educate teens about healthy relationships and the definition of consent, and she is the head of the Teen Board for UMatter, a program focused on empowering youth to shatter the stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide. Tayla is the Youth President at her Temple and she is currently planning a program to help bring Holocaust Survivors to schools to share their experiences. On campus Tayla serves as Junior Class President and she is the President and Founder of Students Against Destructive Decisions.
Isabella Brush, Sarasota High School (Sarasota County)Bella received the Sunshine State Scholar award for her research on the genetic engineering of algae as a source of renewable energy. She is a Mote Marine Laboratory volunteer, a teacher’s aide for the Sarasota Middle School Science Department, and a camp counselor at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Bella is assisting in the renovation of the extensive music library at the Church of the Holy Redeemer, she volunteered on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and for the past seven years she has participated in Day of HOPE, benefitting Sarasota County families in need. Bella is president of her school’s Environmental Club and she is a recipient of the Yale Science and Engineering Association Science Fair Award.
About the Florida Holocaust Museum2017 marked a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrated its 25th Anniversary. One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered of died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org.