The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Carnegie Hall award ceremony is just two days away! Last week, we took a closer look at this year’s outstanding eight Portfolio Gold Medal artists, who, in addition to winning $10,000 scholarships, are well on their way to following in the footsteps of famous Scholastic Awards alumni such as Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein and Zac Posen.
Before the National Celebrations begin in New York City tomorrow, let us introduce you to the talented eight Portfolio Gold Medal writers of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These storytellers captivated regional and national judges with their wild imaginations and powerful emotions – communicated through short stories, poems and memoirs. We can’t wait to meet them here in New York City!
Hanel Baveja – Ann Arbor, MI
Hanel’s Award-winning writing portfolio contains a beautiful collection of poetry that explores themes including family, love and self-discovery. According to Hanel, “The poems I chose for my collection represent my journey. They deal with themes spanning childhood and adulthood, to the complex ties of family, to the strange aspects of love and loss.”
Nathan Cummings – Mercer Island, WA
Ever since he wrote his first novel in the 5th grade about blue aliens, Nathan has been hooked on science fiction. This 2013 National Student Poet and 2014 Portfolio Gold Medalist shares his passion for exploring the unknown through his fictional short stories and poems. “I am a devotee of the arcane and bizarre,” explains Nathan. “My portfolio includes pieces about phantom fish, conjoined twins, and the sheer improbability of the word ‘syzygy.’”
Shannon Daniels – New York, NY
“Persimmon peels left on the kitchen table. The chipped keys of a piano that is out of tune. Everyday objects like these reveal whole histories of the people who use, save, and discard them,” said Shannon. Her poems are an insightful reflection of her life growing up in New York City and exploring Chinatown with her late grandmother. “From hearing family stories over the kitchen table to grocery-shopping in Chinatown market stalls, I’ve discovered that moments that are dismissed as banal or mundane can unfold daily, unspoken truths.”
Jonathan Gelernter – New Haven, CT
Jonathan’s writing portfolio consists of powerful personal memoirs, reflecting his life experiences growing up as Jewish teen in America with his signature sense of humor. He explains, “I write a lot about what it’s like to be a Jewish teenager in America, whether dealing with unexpectedly comical sex education classes or dodging drunk drivers out to kill Jews. I have a lot of fun writing to entertain, but writing also helps me to process, catalog, and document the world that I occupy.”
Emma Hastings – Alexandria, VA
While Emma’s inspiration comes from real life experiences and conversations, her writing is largely fiction. She weaves her interest in science throughout her short stories, resulting in intriguing medical storylines that will have you on your toes from beginning to end. Emma feels a close connection to each of her characters, noting, “There was a moment in writing each of these stories that one of the characters decided to change course and break from my admittedly tenuous plans, or bring up something pivotal that I hadn’t thought about before.”
Haley Lee – Scottsdale, AZ
“Poetry has long appealed to me as a succinct medium which allows for the expression of honest emotion and the relaying of stories in fresh, intriguing ways,” said Haley. Her fiction and nonfiction writing is a mix of poetry and personal essay, where she covers topics spanning from her biracial identity to failed relationships and the consequences of war. “I hope that when people read my writing, they feel as if the words are describing or evoking an emotion they have experience but not yet verbalized.”
Jack Rayson – Nashville, TN
Jack is a short story writer with an incredible imagination and a tendency to veer towards dark humor, but in unexpected ways. His work focuses on the perspectives of children because, in his own words, “[As a child] there are so many experiences to be had, experiences that cannot yet be expressed in words, and I think those indescribable moments of discovery or realization are the purest moments because they escape language.” The result is a collection of stories that are both captivating and surprising.
Jackson Trice – Greenville, SC
Jackson mixes poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, in her writing portfolio, all focusing on one theme: rebellion. Whether she’s exploring themes of family, relationships or defying the norm, Jackson manages to bring a unique, personal quality to all of her writing. “My objective, when I write, is to get as close to the source of emotion as possible, so that when someone else reads it, they can have an emotional experience with a piece, just like I did,” she explains. “[Writing is] the vehicle for my deepest expressions, and I’m in love with the process of cultivating it, and making it stronger.”