Scholastic Award Winners Recognized for Writing Excellence

News  /  by Eden Fesseha '19 and Anika Bagaria '20  /  February 09, 2018

Thirteen Lawrentians, nine of whom are pictured above, received a total of 20 awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Award's regional writing competition.

This past Friday, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards announced the recipients of its regional writing awards.

The program, established in 1923 by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, aims to “identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world.”

The Gold Key Award is given to the “very best works submitted to local programs,” the Silver Key Award to “stand-out works submitted to local programs that demonstrate exceptional ability,” and the Honorable Mention Award to “accomplished works submitted to local programs showing great skill and potential.”

Pieces that receive the Gold Key Award are also submitted for national awards.

Thirteen Lawrenceville students received a total of 20 awards in the New Jersey Writing Region. The Gold Key recipients were Ashley Duraiswamy ’20 for a short story, Jeongsoo Ha ’19 for a critical essay, Isabel Karohl ’18 for personal essay/memoir, Brandon Li ’19 for a painting and an editorial cartoon, Danya Wang ’19 for two poems, and Eric Zhu ’19 for a flash fiction piece.

Silver Key recipients included Scarlet Au ’19 for a critical essay, Natalia Ibarra ’20 for a poem, Ella Rosenthal ’20 for a critical essay, and Wang for another poem.

Honorable Mention recipients were Katelyn Ge ’21 for a poem and critical essay, Kristina Gu ’18 for Science Fiction/Fantasy Piece, Emilia Onuonga ’19 for two poems, Wang for a poem, and James Wellemeyer ’18 for two journalism pieces.

“I realized that writing isn’t meant to stay hidden away in dusty notebooks; it’s meant to be shared,” Duraiswamy said.

Her piece, titled “A World of Color,” inspired by a painting from the National Gallery of Scotland’s website, centers on a child from the town depicted in the painting.

For Zhu, whose piece was titled “Mind the Gap,” the main focus was “creating a piece that manifested in emotion rather than a gripping plotline.”

While undergoing the creative writing process, Zhu concentrated more on thinking than physically writing, hoping to “understand the emotions and ideas I intended to capture in my piece.”

Initially, Rosenthal wrote her essay, titled “Black Panther's Ten Point Program,” to analyze the Black Panther Party’s violence. However, after conducting more research, her view “completely changed,” and her focus shifted to looking at their nonviolent attributes.

To Rosenthal, although "stressful,” the competition made her “feel more confident in my writing. […] It was a really fun experience.”

Ibarra said that she similarly recognized the discipline needed to transform a piece into a final product, and she found that the competition was “a very good learning experience.”

Ibarra’s poem, “Broken Cycle,” centers on her mother’s struggle to overcome poverty, aiming to “let people know that an ugly past can lead to a beautiful future.”

Of her mother, Ibarra said, “She is the strongest person I’ve ever known, and I drew from her strength the inspiration for my poem.”

This year being her first time submitting to a writing competition, Ge created her poem “Witness” to “bring reasoning into perspectives of others, as well as [display] the suffering of innocents.”

Reflecting on the experience, Ge, who also wrote an essay titled “To Kill a Novel,” said, “I’ve taken away many lessons [...] I’ve also managed to grow as a writer a bit, with insight from others [helping me] during the writing process.”