John Updike named as First Prize winner for “Gag” Cartoon in the 1948 Student Achievement issue of Senior Scholastic.

By Haley Richardson, our awesome Archivist

Today, I’m proud to announce a few additions to the illustrious list of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards alumni: film director Richard Linklater  and writers John Updike and Stephen King!

Stephen King named as a Fourth Award winner for Short Story in 1965.

Stephen King named as a Fourth Award winner for Short Story in 1965!

Richard Linklater is a noted filmmaker, and the writer and director of some of my favorite movies about my homeland, Texas: Slacker (1991), Dazed and Confused (1993), and Bernie (2011). In 1978, as a student at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, TX, Rick (as he was called in the Student Achievement edition of Scholastic’s Literary Cavalcade that year) won an Honorable Mention award for Short-short Story. A love for film inspired him to save money for a Super-8 camera to make his own movies and then move to Austin, where he co-founded the Austin Film Society.

John Updike was the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the “Rabbit” series of novels, and in 1948 he won $25 for his First Prize in “Gag” Cartoon as a student at Shillington High School in Shillington, PA. The discovery of his name in the May 1948 issue of Senior Scholastic was the first I’d ever heard of his interest in cartooning, but as Jim Plath of the John Updike Society told me recently, Updike had originally hoped to be a professional cartoonist. In the end, he would have to settle for being a regular contributor to The New Yorker and a successful novelist.

Stephen King was awarded a Fourth Award for his short story “Men of Straw” in 1965, the same year his story “I Was a Teenage Grave Robber” was published in Comics Review. The acclaimed horror and fiction writer began his prolific career enviously early in his life. As Rocky Wood notes in “Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished,” King “has been careful to only release works he was comfortable with at a particular stage of his career,” so it’s unlikely that the author’s “juvenilia” like “Men of Straw” will ever surface. But I’ll be searching!

I uncovered these Alumni by delving into the vast collections of the Scholastic Library, housed in the sub-basement of Scholastic headquarters in SoHo, NY. The collection, which includes copies of every book and periodical published by Scholastic, is the home of massive bound volumes of decades-old magazines originally sent out to students from 1923 until today. When searching for records of The Awards in this collection, Literary Cavalcade, Senior Scholastic, and Junior Scholastic have proven to hold the most complete lists of winners’ and judges’ names, as well as numerous examples of Award-winning writing and artwork.

Archival volumes of Senior Scholastic and Literary Cavalcade, this archivist's favorite way to uncover alumni.

Archival volumes of Senior Scholastic and Literary Cavalcade is this archivist’s favorite way to uncover alumni!

Uncovering greatness in these pages requires only a pair of eagle eyes to scour page after page of numerous art and writing categories. Which is exactly how I stumbled upon Richard Linklater, John Updike, and Stephen King this week!

Are you an Alum of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards? Join our LinkedIn Alumni Group, and share your story with us and fellow winners!

To learn more about our unique 90-year history, visit The Great Encouragement.


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