Marissa Casto, a 10th grader at Kent Mountain View Academy, won Honorable Mention in Art.

Through the window of Anne Frank’s attic was the only contact she had with the outside world. Her view from this window consisted of the sky and a chestnut tree. This tree represented hope and freedom for Anne because it was still living despite the darkness of Nazi Occupation. Recently, Seattle was honored as one of the 11 places in the United States to receive a sapling from Anne’s chestnut tree, and it was planted back in spring 2016.

In honor of the planting of the Anne Frank tree sapling in Seattle, this year’s Holocaust Center for Humanity’s Writing, Art and Film Contest was focused around just that. The question posed for the students of the Pacific Northwest was “How does this tree, and what you have learned about the Holocaust, inspire you and others?”

Nearly 900 students, from grades 5 through 12, from more than 60 different schools from around the area responded through paintings, essays, sketches, poems and films. The winners were honored on July 24th at the Holocaust Center for Humanity for the awards ceremony.

For over 25 years, Holocaust Center for Humanity has been teaching tolerance and citizenship through lessons of the Holocaust and provides inspirational education opportunities and resources to teachers and the community. The Center offers teacher trainings, a Speakers Bureau of local Holocaust survivors, “travelling trunks”, and the Writing, Art, and Film Contest.

The contest empowers the students to creatively speak out and explore different aspects of their daily lives while engaging with the lessons of the Holocaust. Through this contest, students can connect to the Holocaust through their own lives, and are inspired by the discoveries they make while creatively exploring the Holocaust.

This year, Marissa Casto, a 10th grader from Kent Mountain View Academy won Honorable Mention in Art (9th-12th Grade)! Teacher: Banks/Douglass/Greear. The following is an excerpt from her statement: “As you’ve probably heard before, ‘there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.’… When Anne Frank was in the Annex, the tree was her ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’”

For additional information, contact: A full list of the winners and their work is available at

Contributed by Holocaust Center for Humanity