Guests at the 2015 Delaware Exhibit admire the art and writing on display.

Guests at the 2015 Delaware Exhibit admire the art and writing on display.

Last week we announced our February Local Highlight: The Delaware Writing Region! This week we continue our feature and take a deeper look at the recognition that students receive in the region. Local ceremonies and exhibitions are such an important part of the Awards for students who participate. Being celebrated in their communities is a big moment for anyone, and this local program does a great job at showcasing these students talents.

The Delaware Writing Region 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ceremony took place on February 7th. The Art & Writing Awards exhibit opened on January 20th. As always Delaware State University in Dover, the Delaware Art Region affiliate, generously provides a venue. Each year, families, teachers and community leaders fill the meeting salons at The Martin Luther King campus center. At the Art Center Gallery, laced among the award-winning art works on walls and columns are the mounted excerpts from Gold Key-winning poems, essays, short stories and plays.

Eighth grader MaHadaye LeCounte of Mariner Middle School in Milton, with his mother. He received an Honorable Mention for his short story, "So Close."

Eighth grader MaHadaye LeCounte of Mariner Middle School in Milton, with his mother. He received an Honorable Mention for his short story, “So Close.”

Our affiliate hires a graphic artist to design and mat the writing excerpts from Gold Key works. We also display some excerpts from Silver Key Portfolios. At the ceremony, a slide show briefly highlights works from Gold Key Art & Writing Portfolios, and our American Voice and Vision nominees. Students can take their matted excerpts when the exhibit closes.

Even before Gallery director and coordinator of the Delaware Art Region, Jennifer Gunther, offered to share the venue, exhibit space and ceremony time were tight. Since the Art Center Gallery is not large enough to recognize all the artists and writers we wish to honor, our two affiliates split the costs of printing a program flyer insert to list the names of all Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention recipients—and their teachers. The Delaware Writing Region’s Facebook page posts our results, too—with attention-getting images to engage a digital audience!

Our portable e-reader display, unveiled at the 2014 awards ceremony, is great for library & classroom visits.

Our portable e-reader display, unveiled at the 2014 awards ceremony, is great for library & classroom visits.

Last year for the first time, with the encouragement of Jermaine Harmon and the technical expertise of Fred Hofstetter of the University of Delaware’s School of Education, we created Kindle files of our Gold Key and Silver Key writing works. The e-readers are a great success. Students and guests at the exhibit reception can browse the full texts of over 100 written works. The Kindles, lock-mounted to a portable base, can be displayed on a gallery pedestal.

Last of all, we compile printouts of Gold Key-winning works in ring binders for the exhibit, and donate extra binders afterwards to the Delaware Division of the Arts, the Governor’s office, and VIP guests who annually attend the awards ceremony, such as U.S. Representative John Carney. One goal we have for the annual ceremony is to study how we might use our central event to activate more opportunities to recognize the writers, such as encouraging school districts to congratulate their students online, or having student authors create videos we can link to.

As affiliate coordinators, we encourage members of our NLAPW branch to attend the state reception and ceremony in honor of students and their families. In this way, our members hear and can answer questions we didn’t realize parents and teachers had. And contest participants can attach faces to names. Delaware is a small state. As coordinators, we’ve gotten to know students who enter each year, and their teachers. Says Tammie Sylvia, teacher of 2014 national medalist Alecia Nippert, “The Scholastic Writing Awards are important because they offer the opportunity for students to share their talents in a distinguished forum beyond the walls of our school.”

 

Next week we’ll take a look at Delaware Writing Region’s participation in National Events and see what’s in store for the 2016 Delaware Writing Region. And don’t forget to like them on Facebook for all the latest updates!

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