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Standout Spartan: Nora Iwashyna '27

The Steward School
Student receives recognition from international writing competition
Congratulations to Nora Iwashyna ’27 on being named a finalist in the Holocaust Art and Writing Competition for her poem, “How’d You Do It.” The international competition, which is sponsored by the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education at Chapman University in Orange, California, honored Nora virtually during its March 10 award ceremony.

Nora was inspired to write the poem after watching a video of Holocaust survivor Sonia Berson. “She faced unfathomable atrocities while still managing to care for others,” said Nora. “I also took inspiration from my grandfather’s story during World War II, which was part of why I wanted to enter this contest in the first place.” Through her poetry, Nora said she “hoped to show how powerful [survivors’] stories are while also incorporating the theme of love and hope that survivors like Sonia carried with them.”

Nora’s poem begins with the words “Dear Sonia Berson,” and is signed “A Granddaughter,” the latter of which is an homage to her grandfather, who was born in Ukraine and was eleven years old when his home was invaded during World War II. “He was marched with his family and others from surrounding villages to a work camp in Germany,” said Nora. “I cannot understand how he survived. Signing my poem ‘A Granddaughter’ has a double meaning. One is for my grandfather and his story. Another is to put into perspective that this horrific time wasn’t that long ago. I wanted to show how far we’ve come but also that the trauma of the Holocaust still affects people today.”

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