Today is like a graduation, commencement, birthday, anniversary and festival rolled into one. This is the most exciting time of year here at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, as we welcome Scholastic Award winning teens along with their parents and teachers to New York City for our National Celebration. These remarkable students have distinguished themselves as the most creative and innovative teens in America through their bold accomplishments in art and writing. Tonight, they will take a bow at Carnegie Hall—the most celebrated stage in the nation—where they will be recognized as a member of a select group of our nation’s most promising visionaries.

For 87 years, The Scholastic Awards have provided a platform for creative teens, and the 2010 winners join an impressive roster of past winners, including Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Joyce Carol Oates and the accomplished alumni we are honoring this year, the artist Mel Bochner and the poet Carolyn Forché.

While 1,300 students were recognized with Scholastic Awards this year, over 75,000 more submitted work to the program. We know it takes courage, determination and drive to prepare a submission and to put creative work before a panel of professionals for evaluation. When Maurice R. Robinson started The Awards in 1923, he had a vision:
“To give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent in things of the spirit and of the mind at least a fraction of the honors and rewards accorded to their athletic classmates for demonstrating their bodily skills.”

It is in this tradition that we continue to work with arts, education and community leaders across the country to provide opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships for young artists and writers who display exceptional talent.

To all of the students who applied this year, we hope you will continue to stay engaged, nurture your skills and follow your passions.

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