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Standout Spartans: Leo Coogan '24 and Jay Damodar '25

The Steward School
Students pen thoughtful essays
Two Spartans have won the Esther Windmueller Essay Contest, which was presented by the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery in Richmond, Va. Congratulations to Leo Coogan ’24 and Jay Damodar ’25, who won $500 and $300, respectively, for their essays outlining ways to counteract the growing tide of antisemitism. Both students were present at Emek Sholom’s November 6 ceremony commemorating Kristallnacht, and Leo’s essay, “How a Community Can Work to Mitigate Antisemitism,” was shared at the gathering and mentioned in an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

At the event, Leo spoke with Dr. Roger Loria, Holocaust survivor and father of Rachel Loria ’05. Dr. Loria recently visited Upper School English Teacher Stephanie Arnold’s World Literature class. “Meeting Dr. Loria for the first time was one of the most meaningful and humbling experiences I have had and will have in my life,” said Leo, who is active in Steward’s Creative Writing Club and Jewish Student Union. 

Jay wrote his essay, “The Fight Against Antisemitism,” as part of his work in Ms. Arnold’s World Literature class, in which students read and studied “Night” by Elie Wiesel. Jay is a member of the Leadership program and the cross-country team at Steward. 

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