This year, for the first time, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers offered a new opportunity for educators whose student received recognition in the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards—the 2020 Writer’s Retreat for Educators. The two educators chosen for this opportunity would have participated in the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project’s annual New Orleans Writing Marathon, which is a five-day writing retreat for writers across the nation. Unfortunately, this year’s retreat was canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, the educators will now be offered a $1,000 stipend and the opportunity to engage in online networking and enrichment experiences over the summer.

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Did you know the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards turn 100 in 2023?

Ahead of our upcoming centennial, we’re reaching out to all 97 classes of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards alumni to hear your #mygoldkey stories and collaborate on creating alumni opportunities for the next 100 years of the Awards. If you haven’t already, share your own Scholastic Art & Writing Awards journey by taking our brief alumni survey.

Below, we’ll share a sampling of the extraordinary stories we’ve received from our alumni, highlighting two #mygoldkey stories from the 1960s and 1970s.

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JERRY SHENG, In the Workshop, Photography. Grade 12, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT.

JERRY SHENG, In the Workshop, Photography. Grade 12, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT. The Harry and Betty Quadracci Art Portfolio

Completing our showcase of this year’s Gold Medal Portfolio recipients are Jerry Sheng and Vitoria Sana Perez. Jerry decided to explore societal issues and differences by spending several days during his summer break in China taking pictures of Yiwu, the world’s largest small commodities market. Vitoria writes about the shared cultural staples between the two sides of her family using a flowing, sequential narrative in order to facilitate understanding of and between these cultures.

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VAL JETT, Tête-à-Tête, Drawing & Illustration. Grade 12, Atherton High School, Louisville, KY.

VAL JETT, Tête-à-Tête, Drawing & Illustration. Grade 12, Atherton High School, Louisville, KY. The Maurice R. Robinson Fund Art Portfolio

This week, our showcase of the 2020 Gold Medal Portfolio recipients—a prestigious honor that includes a $10,000 scholarship—moves to students Val Jett and Luz Manunga. Val decided to use self-portraits to explore themes of love, beauty, and confidence. Through her writing, Luz has discovered that being true to yourself allows you to be more honest with others and to connect with people no matter the barriers between you.

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JACK ANDERSON, Scribble Portrait, Drawing & Illustration. Grade 10, Maret School, Washington, D.C.

JACK ANDERSON, Scribble Portrait, Drawing & Illustration. Grade 10, Maret School, Washington, D.C.

The Alliance/ACT-SO Journey Award, in partnership with the NAACP’s Afro-Academic Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), provides $1,000 scholarships for ACT-SO scholars, who also receive a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Medal.

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ARIANA DIAZ, If Only I Could Float, Photography. Grade 12, Miami Arts Charter School, Miami, FL.

ARIANA DIAZ, If Only I Could Float, Photography. Grade 12, Miami Arts Charter School, Miami, FL. The Harry and Betty Quadracci Art Portfolio

We continue our series on the 2020 Gold Medal Portfolio recipients with artist Ariana Diaz and writer Ayush Noori. Ariana used her photographic portfolio to document her personal experience with a permeating sense of sadness and melancholy. Following the death of his grandmother, Ayush wrote a chronicle of his grandmother’s life in order to confront feelings about mortality, fear, and pain.

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