Caroline Drew. Galaxy Box. Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Silver Medal, Photography.

Guest post by Alliance staffer Scott Larner

When I was fourteen, my grandmother bought me a collection of 50 leather bound books from The Easton Press, called Masterpieces of Science Fiction. This left little hope that I wouldn’t spend the next few decades of my life daydreaming of outer space and aliens. I was charmed by imaginative tales in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, enthralled with the raucous adventures of Gully Foyle in Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination, and captivated by the Galaxy-spanning political intrigue in Frank Herbert’s Dune.

The monsters and violence brought me in and kept me reading, but as I got older and started thinking more critically about what I read, I realized there had been more at work in those books. Read More

Christine Catlin. Kitty. Grade 10, Age 15. 2012 Gold Medal, Comic Art.

Post by Miryam Coppersmith, Scholastic Awards Alum & 2012 Scholastic/Alliance Fellow

Who doesn’t love to make an argument? We form arguments whenever we review movies, discuss politics or talk to our parents (that last part is a joke—humor can be an essential part of an argument!) Forming an argument is an invaluable skill in college and any career you might pursue. It does not just take skill either; a successful argument requires a lot of creativity. Reading through this past year’s Scholastic Award-winning Persuasive Writing in the Alliance’s online galleries, I was struck by how personal all of the pieces were. Even in a category where you might not use the word “I” in your entire piece, your personal voice shines through. Here are some tips to make your argument the most convincing and eloquent it can be.
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Guest post by Alliance staffer Monica Johnson, Manager of Art & Exhibitions

I’m creating my very first web comic right now and it’s hard. But, I’ve learned a few things that might inspire all the current and future comic artists out there.

Make your own font! Traditionally, I’ve always kept my writing and my drawing separate, just like my peas and mashed potatoes. At first it was really challenging to figure out how to create and edit a comic in the most efficient and fluid way. I would write the dialogue, then storyboard the comic. Finally I inked the comic, scanned, and formatted it. But then I would want to edit the text, and that created a problem because to change the text meant redrawing, re-scanning, and re-formatting. Argh! Too much work if you ask me.

Then I made my own font! It’s the best thing that ever happened to my web comic. It’s my own handwriting and I can edit it in any writing or design program on my computer. Visit to make your own! Read More

Mary Harvey. Are You Kitten Me? Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Silver Medal with Distinction, Art Portfolio.

On his deathbed, actor Edmund Gwenn was said to utter the now-famous phrase: “Dying is easy…comedy is difficult.” What makes a great humor piece—and why is it funny? Often, the best examples, like this one from 2012 Scholastic Awards Gold Medalist Abigail Hartley, hold a mirror up to readers. In that mirror we may see flickers of ourselves, but also can smile at the foibles of others. Humor also has roots in pain: the wallflower, the outcast, the misunderstood voice makes itself heard and it’s one with which most readers can also identify. National Scholastic Awards juror DC Pierson said of this essay: “Great combination of voice and subject matter and perfect length. Great work!!!” See what you think, and learn more about this category at the bottom of this post! Read More

Cagney Krzywosinski. You Do Dolls. Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Gold Medal, Design.

Guest post by Alliance staffer Courtney Buckland

Design is one of my favorite categories, and it is sadly underrepresented in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. While I was studying graphic design, my dream was to design product packaging and book covers. The design of a product can be the one factor that makes me buy one product over another. Almost every time I grab a bar of chocolate, it is the design of the package that will grab my attention and get me to buy it. The same thing applies to my book purchases. I can’t even imagine how many good books I have passed over because the cover didn’t catch my eye.

Some of the most interesting design submissions I saw for the 2012 Scholastic Awards were handmade toys, beautiful stationary, calendars, and movie posters. Two of my favorites from this year are You Do Dolls by Cagney Krzywosinski (above) and a stationary set by Emily Collins (below).  There are so many things we use every day that need to be designed, making this category so much fun! Read More

Gaetano Icangelo. Typewriter. Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Gold Medal for Printmaking and Silver Medal with Distinction for Art Portfolio.

Just the Facts: Journalism is nonfiction writing that informs and educates the general public about newsworthy topics or current events. Seventh- and eighth-grade journalists may submit works of 400-2,000 words to the 2013 Scholastic Awards; those in 9-12 grade have a 500-3,000 word limit. There are no limitations on subject matter, theme or language in submitted work. Jurors look for originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice.

For a good example from this category, read the following excerpt from 2012 Gold Medalist Alexa Horwitz’s winning story, Gimme Shelter.
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