Deaniqua Phillips, a junior at Wyandanch High School, recently won first place in a poetry contest sponsored by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
Phillip's five-stanza poem, "The Stage of Hilarius Gilges," describes Gilges, a black dancer and activist in Germany who was murdered in 1933. "He was a political leader and one of the first to be killed by the Nazis," said Phillips, 16, who won a savings bond.
At Wyandanch, Phillips is active in the Captured Nazi Banner Research Project, an after-school research club for teens interested in learning more about the Holocaust.
Earlier this year GEAR UP, a Wyandanch college preparatory program, arranged for her to attend a lecture by Holocaust survivor Annie Bleiberg at Dowling College in Oakdale.
"I'm very proud of her," said Frank Pomata, GEAR UP's assistant director. "She's putting in the work needed to get to where she wants to go in life."
Phillips writes for her school newspaper and is in the Science and Technology Entry Program preparing students to pursue degrees in science.
She was honored at a ceremony at the Holocaust Center in Glen Cove on May 16.