Photo Courtesy of Writopia Lab. Scholastic Awards alum Angelica Modabber with Writopia Lab founder Rebecca Wallace-Segall (left) and Writopia Lab instructor Danielle Sheeler (right) at the induction of the inaugural NYC Literary Honors.

Guest post by Alliance staffer Lisa Feder-Feitel

It’s rare to say “we knew you when” about someone who’s just 17, but Manhattan-born writer Angelica Modabber has been submitting writing to the Scholastic Awards and earning accolades since middle school!

Therefore, it was not a surprise but a lovely honor to gather under a tent outside Gracie Mansion last month to see Angelica inducted in the inaugural class of the NYC Literary Honors. Stellar city scribes from Robert Caro (author of The Power Broker and LBJ biographies) to award-winning young adult author Walter Dean Myers were called to the stage to read and receive glittering statuettes. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg served as emcee, and perhaps because the event took place on “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” he read this rhyming tribute to one of the honorees: “I think that I shall never know, a poet as fine as Marie Ponsot!”

Angelica, who will attend Barnard College this fall, was the sole student to receive this newly-minted honor; she writes for both her online high school newspaper (of which she is the editor) and blogs for the New York Daily News.

As a 13-year-old 8th grader at the IS 245 Computer School, Angelica earned her first Scholastic Writing Award—a Gold Key. She applied for an ASAP (Alliance Summer Arts Program) Award, and was one of just 16 students nationwide to receive one! At the time, she said: “This grant has caused me to create some lofty goals for myself: it has taught me that my objectives and ambitions are not simply ideals that I want to reach, but ideals that I could reach.”

Her summer scholarship allowed her to attend Writopia Lab to further develop her abilities—and she remains at Writopia Lab today. In fact, one of her plays, A Step Outside, will be featured on May 18 at Writopia’s 2012 Worldwide Plays Festival. We wish her continued success and give her this shout-out from the Alliance: keep on reaching!

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