Chewonki Student Selected for National Writing Award

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Maeve Tholen

Wiscasset, Maine. Maeve Tholen, an eighth-grade student attending Chewonki Elementary and Middle School has been selected to receive a Scholastic National Gold Medal for her short story A Painted Seashell. Tholen’s story was chosen from among more than 230,000 entries received by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers as part of the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. 

“I logged onto my Scholastic Account right when the awards were released and I found out that I had received a gold medal,” says Tholen. “My mom (who is also my teacher) had logged on as well and was already with my sister and step-father as I came down from my room, and we all stood there and hugged in total shock. I couldn’t believe my story was chosen for a gold medal.”

Less than 1% of entries to the national competition receive top honors, with gold-medal winners selected by a jury of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts, including Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Judy Blume, Billy Collins, Paul Giamatti, Francine Prose, Edwidge Danticat, David Sedaris, Lesley Stahl, Nikki Giovanni, Roz Chast, Wangechi Mutu, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Jill Kraus, Shinique Smith, Rashid Johnson, and Waris Ahluwalia. Jurors look for works that exemplify the Awards’ core values: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision.

“I’m thrilled that we have an 8th grade student who received a Scholastic national gold medal,” says Kat Cassidy, the head of elementary and middle school at Chewonki. “This is fantastic feedback for Maeve as a young writer, and it’s a huge honor for me, as a literacy teacher.”

In addition to Tholen’s award for writing, Cassidy has also received an Educator Award, given in  recognition of “educators whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected at the national honors level.”  

“The literacy curriculum we’ve designed here at Chewonki is one that allows students to practice and continually hone their skills, and I push my students hard to keep exploring the best ways to express their thoughts and share information through writing,” says Cassidy. “Maeve is an exceptional writer and I’m glad she’s receiving recognition for her hard work.”

Tholen says she’s looking forward to continuing to write and focus on different styles of writing. 

“Currently we’re focusing on poetry at school and I’m really enjoying putting my energy into poems. I’m already thinking about entering the contest again next year and maybe entering a few writing submissions next time” says Tholen.

About the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. The program has an impressive legacy of being the first to acknowledge creative talent and is today’s largest source of scholarships for creative teens.

Read More about Maeve in the Local Press:

Maine News Center

The Times Record



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