Five students attending Chewonki Elementary and Middle School took top honors from the Scholastic Art & Writing regional awards his week as a part of the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.
Nyssa Wilkinson from Bremen received a gold key award for her short story “Dandelions” while Hunter Winn of Georgetown, Huckleberry Huber-Rees of Alna, and Acadia Guilani of West Bath all received silver key awards. Noah Arbuckle of Newcastle received an honorable mention, as did Wilkinson, Huber-Rees, and Winn for additional entries.
As a gold key winner, Wilkinson’s entry will advance to the national level this year where it will be considered for the highest level of awards, including Gold Medal, Silver Medal with Distinction, Silver Medal, and several scholarship opportunities.
“I’m pleased that all five of our students who were eligible to enter the Scholastic Awards competition were recognized for their writing that spanned multiple genres,” says Kat Cassidy, Head of Elementary and Middle School. “This is excellent feedback for them as young writers- now they’re receiving positive evaluations from other adults out there, and it’s incredibly reaffirming for them.”
The students, who all attend the same seventh/eighth-grade writing class, are accustomed to providing critical feedback to their peers on writing assignments in a supportive yet rigorous ‘writer’s workshop’ format.
“We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help,” says Wilkinson. “Group editing, revising, giving our suggestions, saying what we can do better, that’s what made the final product that won the awards. The more we see good writing from our peers, the more we know what to do, and the more fun we have writing.”
Huber-Rees also shared appreciation for the team approach, “Because we’re such a tight community, we all really trust each other and give each other great constructive feedback. It’s very comfortable to share because we all have different styles and learn so much from each other.”
Copies of student’s winning entries are available to read on our website and include writing in the short fiction, poetry, flash fiction, memoir, and critical essay categories:
- “Dandelions” and “Saltwater Canoe Expedition” by Nyssa Wilkinson
- “A Map of My Life” by Noah Arbuckle
- “Cardinal Snow” and “Why 3 Day Weekends Can Change Us For the Better” by Hunter Winn
- “The Cure Conspiracy” and “An Unknown Train” by Huckleberry Huber-Rees
- “Forgetting” by Acadia Guliani.
Entries to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are selected for awards without knowledge of the student’s gender, age, ethnicity, or hometown by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts. Many Scholastic Awards alumni have lent their expertise as jurors, including Michael Bierut, Philip Pearlstein, Edward Sorel, Red Grooms, and Gary Panter. Other luminaries who have served as judges include 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 a personal voice or vision.
“I always tell my students that I’m proud of them for first just getting what lives in their hearts and their heads onto the paper, and then if they can share it with others, that’s even better,” says Cassidy.”I love working with our middle school writers, who have so many important things to express to the world- and kudos to them for putting their writing out there.”
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. https://www.artandwriting.org/