Three-time Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep provides young artists and writers with inspiration at the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall, New York on Friday, June 1, 2012. (Stuart Ramson for Scholastic Inc.)

This edited post originally appeared on Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog on June 2, 2012. Post by Lia Zneimer.

The past 72 hours have been pretty phenomenal, especially for the winners of the 89th Annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

This week, more than 800 students from across the country — plus their parents and teachers — traveled to New York City for The Awards’ National Celebration. On Thursday night, the Empire State Building was lit in gold in honor of these talented teens, and on Friday night, they were recognized at a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall. Doesn’t get any better than that, right? That’s what I thought…until three-time Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep congratulated the students on their accomplishments. Talk about a memorable night!

“… We are counting on you to explain this very complicated world and our future,” Ms. Streep said in last night’s address. “You’re not only expressing yourselves, and what you think and feel. In time you’ll understand this: you speak for all of us.”

Portfolio Gold Medalists honored at the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall on Friday, June 1, 2012. (Stuart Ramson for Scholastic Inc.)

Students were also congratulated by Scholastic’s Chairman, President, and CEO, Dick Robinson, and the Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Virginia McEnerney. In addition to honoring this year’s national medalists and their parents and teachers, the Alliance invited Awards alumnae Lucianne Walkowicz and Nazli Parvizi to present the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award to renowned artist Edward Sorel. Then, to top it all off, rapper MC Lars gave an incredible performance. The whole night was, in a word, awesome.

If you’d like to see some of the Award-winning art and writing in person, head on over to the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design (66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street). The ART. WRITE. NOW National Exhibition features more than 500 pieces of stunning art and writing by winners of this year’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The exhibit is free and open to the public through June 16.

Congratulations to all of the national medalists, their parents, and teachers, on this tremendous accomplishment! And never forget: Meryl Streep thinks you’re cool.

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