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For the second year in a row, we asked creative teens around the country to submit boundary-breaking creations incorporating cutting-edge technologies and techniques to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. We received an amazing variety of creations that defied the confines of the Scholastic Awards’ current categories, including 3D design, robotics, and performance art.

Three Future New submissions utilizing 3D Systems’ free 3D design software were awarded $1,000, sponsored by 3D Systems as well as a print of their work made using a top-of-the-line 3D Systems printer! Learn more about this year’s winners below! Read More

Daniel Lion

Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Briton Riviere (1840-1920), painted in 1892.

Just the Facts: The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ Science Fiction/Fantasy Category includes writing that uses supernatural, magical, futuristic, scientific, and technological themes as a key element of the plot. All teens in 7-12 grade are invited to submit works of 600-3,000 words to the 2014 Scholastic Awards beginning September 16.

The genre of fantasy allows a writer to travel through time, revisit ancient tales and reset them in the future, give voice to the outlandish and stretch our abilities to imagine and believe in the story we are being told. In “The Lions’ Den,” Mary Elizabeth Dubois (2013 Gold Medalist) soars back to biblical times for inspiration, and uses the apocryphal episode in which Daniel is placed in grave danger because he worships God. See if her re-imagining rings true for you—or at the very least, weaves its own magical web!

The Lions’ Den
Walking was such a treacherous thing.
She had been walking and walking and walking since she was a small child. Barely breathing, they taught her to walk. Before she learned how to eat or say her name, she was taught to walk.
Always walking.
Treacherous, treacherous walking. Read More

Glitchbusters and their teacher at the 2013 National Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall! From left: Ashwin Datta, Kyle Hiebel, Chitra Datta, Justin Mellott and Andrei Blebea.

Glitchbusters and their teacher at the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall! From left: Ashwin Datta, Justin Mellott, Chitra Datta, Kyle Hiebel, and Andrei Blebea.

What makes a video game not just fun, but addictively amazing? We asked Glitchbusters, a team of 4 high school students from Hillsboro, Oregon whose game earned a 2013 Gold Medal in our Video Games Category and a $1,000 AMD Game Changer Award. Almost as impressive as this recent achievement is that fact that they designed it as a team: they’ve been studying and designing games together for 4 years—and they’re still friends! Check out our Q & A with them below.

What is Glitchbusters? How did the group come together?
We’re Ashwin Datta, Andrei Blebea, Kyle Hiebel and Justin Mellott. Besides being friends and avid gamers ourselves, we have been programming for about 4 years. Our original games were all made in Game Maker while our latest game, Modern Health Care, was made in XNA, which is a programming framework based on C#.

What’s your 2013 Award-winning game about?
Building Spree: Mars Edition is an intricate tycoon game in which you must build and manage a colony on Mars. Read More

Drawing by Xavier Donnelly

Drawing by Xavier Donnelly

Cities—from ancient Athens to Oz to Dubai—capture the imaginations of artists through the ages because of their complexity and creative use of color, form, space, and scale. We asked Xavier Donnelly, 2010 Portfolio Gold Medalist and this summer’s art intern at the Alliance, to elaborate on what draws him to architecture and the urban environment.

Habitats for Humanity: Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by cities and the environments that humanity has designed for itself. All of my artwork – whether it is drawing, sculpture, or other mediums – is highly influenced by architecture and the spaces I observe around me. One of my favorite aspects of architecture is that humans have constructed their own landscape and it is one that is constantly evolving. I love to watch the evolution of architecture as designers create fantastic and unorthodox forms and spaces for us to inhabit. Read More

Khanh Tran. Untitled. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Silver Medal, Painting.

Khanh Tran. Untitled. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Silver Medal, Painting.

Consider the word “playwright.” It suggests a wordsmith who uses both innovation and craft, and often fuses poetry and prose for an end product that is not for the faint-hearted: it’s interpreted…out loud…in front of an audience!

We asked playwright and 2013 Scholastic Awards Gold Medalist Phillip Anastassiou to discuss his process and his play Two Men Alike, in which an extremely talkative man and a deaf-mute find themselves stuck in a cave. What inspired him, and what advice can he offer to aspiring playwrights for the 2014 Scholastic Awards? In his own words:

Heroes and Influences…
I am seriously attracted to the aesthetic of absurdist drama. Beckett and Ionesco are my heroes. Waiting for Godot is almost sacred. My objective in writing Two Men Alike was to depict the constant struggle to seek intrinsic purpose in life and the inevitable failure to do so. Read More

Three of Hannah Jones’ books, which she co-wrote with Danielle Bennett

Hannah Jones (aka Jaida Jones) earned a Scholastic Portfolio Gold Award in 2004. She has published four fantasy books, Havemercy, Shadow Magic, Dragon Soul, and Steelhands, as well as a collection of her poetry entitled Cinquefoil—all garnering critical acclaim. And she’s done all this by the age of 26!

We recently had a chance to chat with Hannah to learn more about her love for reading and writing fantasy. She also provided us with some great advice for all the young fantasy writers out there. Check it out!

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
The first time I read a good book and it ended. I don’t cope well with separation.

What do you like about the fantasy genre? What opportunities does it afford you as a writer that you don’t have when writing “realistic” fiction?
One of the assignments I remember vividly from a college writing workshop was as follows: all the assembled students were given a first line to write a short in-class piece of fiction over the course of fifteen minutes. The first line was ‘She looked at the dinosaur in the room.’ After fifteen minutes, we went around the room reading our pieces out loud. All the dinosaurs in the room had been metaphors–for old men, for difficult situations, for people they no longer wanted to be with, obsolete lovers and childhood friends. My dinosaur was a dinosaur. It spoke. Read More