The Spirit of Anne Frank Awards

The Amy and Anthony Polak
2005 Outstanding Educator Award

ROY SHEARS resides in Southaven, Mississippi, and currently is the art director at Hamilton High School. While teaching at the Ida B.Wells Academy in Memphis, TN, Mr. Shears founded Youth Making a Change, an organization for youth-at-risk to learn ethical thinking and moral courage by focusing on issues of violence, racism, diversity and social justice.

He challenged his students to read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and select passages that most stirred their emotions, then mentored the responses into visual themes. In symbolic reference to Kristallnacht, the students burned copies of the Diary and mixed ashes into paint. The renderings became a museum quality art exhibit of middle school students called Remember Forever. The goal of the exhibition is to emphasize the importance of meeting social injustice with personal moral courage. The first audience was the school community. Later, the exhibition was displayed along side an educational Anne Frank Exhibit from The Anne Frank Center USA and subsequently, was featured at the National Civil Rights Museum to launch a national tour. Mr. Shears took a sabbatical to mentor 3 students as they participated in a national youth leadership initiative called the NetGeneration of Youth, an organization which links youth to real world civic activity.

Mr. Shears empowers minority students to excel in higher level math and science by helping them compete and grow into educational opportunities. Whether by teaching math, science, reading, or art, Mr. Shears is an educator who teaches successive generations of students to recognize and celebrate diversity: he believes that each person individually can make a difference.



AFC USA does not collect information from site visitors. Students are not automatically enrolled in solicitations, nor will receive extraneous emails. No applicant information is collected via this website. Submissions cannot be sent electronically. All applications must be submitted in hard copy by mail. If you are interested in receiving additional information regarding Anne Frank Center programming please send a separate email to info(at) You can also subscribe to our newsletter, or unsubscribe if you are currently enrolled, using the form in the left-hand column on our home page.