This Essay Contest required students to reflect on the concepts of tolerance, equality, and respect for all people, as viewed by the Founders of our Country. The contest stresses civic harmony over violence and equality over prejudice. To participate, students (grades 7 and 8) wrote about the significance of the contest theme – respect for our diversity in race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, and sexual orientation – by thinking about the issues of bigotry and prejudice, and how such issues have (or have not) been addressed in

Marcus Brodzki, 2022 Essay Contest coordinator, stated that B’nai B’rith encourages responsibility and mutual respect for the differences in all people. “Respecting another person’s differences is a cornerstone of civil society.” As we have seen time and again, there is a great need for mutual understanding. Brodzki continued, “We are seeing hyper-polarization among adults and this contest has been a breath of fresh air and continues to illuminate the need for continued work with our youth.”

B’nai B’rith extends our appreciation to our distinguished panel of judges: Mimi Anapolle, Rabbi Jeff Feinstein, RuthE Levy, and Margie Simonoff.

RuthE Levy, the owner of And Thou Shalt Read bookstore, stated, “This year’s essays were strong. They shared a variety of concerns and a depth of thought that young people are experiencing, even at this early age. I was very impressed. And it was hard to choose the winners because there were many good entries! Congratulations to the winners and to all who participated.”

The Achim/Gate City Lodge of B’nai B’rith International is proud to announce the following winners of the 2021- 2022 Enlighten America Essay Contest:

The 7th Grade First-Place Winner of a $350 prize is Skylar Robinson of Fayetteville for her essay, titled “Harmony and Equality”. Skylar is a student at Woodward Academy. Skylar’s essay was applauded by contest judge, Margie Simonoff. By “focusing on Gandhi and Mandela to support the idea that harmony and equality can be achieved by non-violent means was well done.” An excellent message conveyed meaningfully. Kudos to Skylar!Skylar Robinson

The 8th Grade First-Place Winner of a $350 prize is Kyle Tie of Johns Creek for his essay, titled “Stop the Hate”. Kyle is 13 years old and a student at Woodward Academy. Kyle’s essay “made strong points especially with regard to microaggressions, origins of stereotyping, and the “Bystander Effect” when witnessing a hate crime. Kudos to Kyle!Kyle Tie



The 7th Grade Second-Place Winner of a $250 prize is Francis Clark for his essay, titled “Unity in Diversity”. Francis is 13 years old and a student at Chamblee Middle School. One judge commented on Francis’ work, “Amazingly well written! The writer took a complicated idea and made it understandable.” Kudos to Francis!Francis Clark



The 8th Grade Second-Place Winner of a $250 prize is Santoshi Puttagunta for her essay titled “Love Conquers All”. Santoshi is 14 years old and a student at Woodward Academy. Santoshi put it rather correctly when she stated, “I know that there is hate in the world, but there is also love in the world.” Together we can create a world where love conquers all. Kudos to Santoshi!Santoshi Puttagunta

Amazingly, we had a tie for our 7th Grade Third-Place Winners. Both will receive the $100 prize.

The first 7th Grade Third-Place Winner of a $100 prize is Arun Piyasena for his essay, “A United Society”. Arun is 13 and a student at Woodward Academy. One judge commended Arun for his “understanding of the No Place for Hate Pledge and how its goals are being achieved at the student’s school.” Kudos to Arun!Arun Piyasena




The second 7th Grade Third-Place Winner of a $100 prize is George Sloan with his essay “Hope for Harmony”.  George is a student at Woodward Academy. According to one judge “the author sets out to prove a point and does so – that civic harmony can be obtained by addressing the gender pay gap, educational inequality between black and white schools, and wealth inequality.” Kudos to George!George Sloan

The 2021-2022 Enlighten America Essay Contest is a volunteer community service project brought to you by the Achim/Gate City Lodge of B’nai B’rith International and is jointly sponsored by businesses, organizations and individual members of the Achim/Gate City Lodge of B’nai B’rith. We thank our 2021-2022 Enlighten America sponsors for their generosity and support ( Businesses and schools interested in sponsoring or participating in the next Enlighten America contest may contact Harry Lutz at


 About B’nai B’rith

B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community.

B’nai B’rith International is widely respected as one of the world’s largest Jewish membership organizations promoting human rights, community action, and humanitarian efforts. Tikkun Olam is a concept that is an integral part of being Jewish. Loosely translated, it refers to our obligation to repair the world, to make the world a better place in which to live, work and play. What we in BBI do is in keeping with Tikkun Olam.

The B’nai B’rith Achim/Gate City Lodge, established in 1870, is one of the oldest B’nai B’rith lodges. At the local level, we organize and promote volunteer community service programs, including  Pinch Hitters, Enlighten America Essay Contest, Unto Every Person There is a Name, and Cares for Kids.

For more information, please visit or contact Harry Lutz at or 678-485-8179.

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