Each year, the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards honor the vision, ingenuity, and talent of the nation’s youth, and provide opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. This year, a record twelve George School students were awarded thirteen Gold Keys for various works in writing and arts. Only 5 percent of the 1,100 entries received Gold Keys this year.
“We have some really talented writers at George School,” said Colette Weber, English Department Head. “It is wonderful to see them getting recognized in the outside world.”
“Our students work tirelessly in their respective studios to refine techniques and skills,” said Director of Visual Arts and Design, Danielle Picard-Sheehan. “Each student recognized with a Scholastic Arts Award should be very proud. I am grateful to my colleagues for their dedication to their students and for keeping expression and creative thinking a keystone of our community.” See the slideshow below for the award-winning student work.
George School’s success in the competition has grown over the past few years, indicating that our students are among the top in the nation in arts and writing.
Gold Key Scholastic Writing Award winners are Ryan Bencivengo ’21, Miranda Dobkin ’21, Carol Lu ’21, Jiayi Luo ’20 (2), Divya Papaiya ’21, Finn Pollard ’21, Diana Savchyn ’21, Zachary Somogyi ’20, and Aqua Withers ’21. Silver Key Award winners are Jiaao Bao ’21, Arran Goldman ’21, Jiayi Luo ’20 (2), Ada Rose Wagner ’21, Shelby Williams ’21, Ellen Zhang ’21, and Darwin Zhou ’23. Winners of the Honorable Mention Award are Carol Lu ’21, Frederic Perera ’21, Aniketh Phalcomepely ’21, Sahib Singh ’21, and Shelby Williams ’21 (2).
Gold Key Scholastic Arts Award winners are Morris Chang ’21, Phoebe Day ’20, and Ethan Hidalgo ’20. Silver Key Award winners are Michaeo Ruzzi ’20, Kairo Morton ’20, Praveen Rodrigo ’20, Janaia Madden ’20, and Dixie Hurst-Blair ’20. Winners of the Honorable Mention Award are Justin Liu ’23, Morris Chang ’21, Arran Goldman ’21, Zachary Somogyi ’20, Annika Crawford ’22, Celeste Huang ’22, and Bella Stewart ’21.
“I am thrilled about the success of these awards for our students,” said teacher Melaina Young ’93. “These awards are a testament to our student’s creativity, courage, and dedication. It takes many hours of work to revise one’s writing for publication and courage to put that work out there for the world to see.”
Fourteen of the students that received awards in the writing competition developed their pieces from an IB HL English class unit on Gothic short stories. “We read classic Gothic fiction writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, and modern Gothic fiction writers such as Joyce Carol Oates,” said Melaina. “We considered how modern writers might touch on Gothic themes in literature. Students were then challenged to devise their own Gothic tales. Once they created their story, students blindly read their peers’ stories in the class and came up with a “best in class.” We revealed the writers’ identities at the end. It is wonderful for these young writers to get affirmation from their peers in this way.”
“Three of the winning photographs were printed using a hand-applied Van Dyke Brown emulsion. It produced a lovely brown tone and added to the nostalgia of their work,” said Danielle. “The silver gelatin photo reflects an elegant use of light and detail. The black and white image created in Digital Imaging & Design is a wonderful juxtaposition of lines and light in a photograph of a staircase.”
“George School Woodworking and design students design and build original furniture that is thoughtful, ergonomic, beautiful, and sustainable,” said Carter Sio ’76, Woodworking and Design teacher. “The furniture selected by the Scholastic judges demonstrate both the skills the students have learned and the aesthetic they are developing in their furniture making.”
“In their works, our students have explored the use of oil painting and have developed their technique and style in this time-honored medium,” said Painting and Drawing teacher Jo Adachi. “I am both excited and proud to see young painters masterfully manipulate oil paints and grow as artists.”
Ceramics and Sculpture teacher Amedeo Salamoni adds, “There is nothing more thrilling as an educator than to see your students’ continued growth in craftmanship and their dedicated work towards mastery. Three of the works selected by the Scholastic Key judges were fired in our wood-fired kiln on campus and the depth and richness of their glazes highlights their creative and expert work. The large jug was fired in a traditional kiln and embodies the simplicity of form and balance.”
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Students’ submissions are blindly adjudicated by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts. After the initial competition, Gold Key works are judged nationally by an impressive panel of creative–industry experts to receive National Medals. National Medalists are recognized in part at the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.