Whitney Jones ('01)

Attending the Holocaust Remembrance Project winner’s trip in 2001 created some of the most indelible memories of my entire life—not for the recognition that my essay received that year, but more importantly, for the precious days I got to spend with Holocaust survivors as they led me through the searing pain of their childhoods so brutally mutilated by the Nazi regime.

I will never forget walking through the Holocaust Museum, holding my breath, watching Irene Zisblatt and Inge Auerbacher point to the emaciated faces of their relatives and friends pictured on the walls, people who are present today only in photographs and memories of those who vow “never to forget”. I watched, breathless and trembling, as both women recalled intimate details of every single person they recognized in those images.

I cried with every identification they made, hoping for just one more survivor among them, yearning to hear of at least one life not claimed by the senseless hatred aimed at them from their fellow men. Not one of the dozens of people they pointed out lived to liberation. At the end of that afternoon, I was left with two burning emotions: an awesome sense of appreciation for the survivors’ willingness to share their lives so personally with us, and a passion to commit my life to preventing such atrocities from happening again.

In the years that followed that trip, I attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where I majored in English and minored in classical studies. I was a four-year Presidential Scholar, a four-year Philip and Peggy Crosby Leadership Scholar, and an Algernon Sydney Sullivan Scholar. I was also a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honors society, a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honors society. I was a four-year member of the Rollins varsity volleyball team, serving as captain my last two years. I loved the camaraderie of my teammates and the intense competitions we battled through, especially when we advanced to Regionals for only the second time in school history my senior year. I also joined Kappa Delta sorority and formed lasting friendships with my sisters during my three-year membership.

I graduated from Rollins this May and am greatly looking forward to pursuing my passion: serving as a human rights activist on the international scene. I would love for an opportunity to serve in the UN, and am currently preparing myself for entrance to law schools (hopefully in the DC area) where I can focus on continuing my education to ensure that stories like Irene Zisblatt’s and Inge Auerbacher’s will never happen again in senseless acts of hatred like the Holocaust.