From Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog. By Anne Sparkman.

Sarah Devlin is a talented filmmaker from New Orleans who took home the Gold in the 2012 Scholastic Awards – and a $10,000 scholarship – for her portfolio of films. They range from music videos to documentaries, from English to French!

A personal favorite among her videos is Writer’s Block. When I spoke to her about it she revealed she was only 14 when she made it – 14, do you believe it?

Check it out:

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A scene from Beasts of the Southern Wild. Photo Credit: Cinereach

When Michael Raisler put together his Gold Medal-winning Art Portfolio for the 2003 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, he wanted to share his belief in mankind’s ability to change the world for the better and also his fear of losing that belief. He wrote, “I am trying desperately to believe that communication still exists, that people’s minds can be changed, and that hate can be conquered.” Over time many adults give up on trying to change the world…that is partly what Rings I Can’t Reach represents for me, this idealism that is always present in my life, but seems to be gradually slipping away.” Read More

Leo Purman. Contained. Grade 12, Age 18. 2012 Gold Medal, Photography Portfolio.

What is creativity? What inspires a young artist or writer? We thought we’d go to the source: our 2012 Portfolio Gold winners, and let them tell you in their own words and images!

The Portfolio Gold Award is the top prize in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, given to just 15 high school seniors. It includes both a $10,000 college scholarship and access to the more than $5 million that our scholarship partners offer to our National Award winners. Each blog post in this series, Eyes on the Prize, will introduce you to a pair of portfolio winners—an artist and a writer. We’ll present what they wrote about their creative process, and then let you see and read their work for yourself!

First up: Leo Purman and Emma Goldberg.
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Davis Werthmeimer, "Lost Marbles." Grade 11, Age 16. Gold Medal, Digital Art.

June’s Writing of the Month comes from 2011 Writing Portfolio Gold Medalist Harris Durrani. After the jump, read an except from his story, “JEDI KNIGHT.” You can also hear more about Harris on WNYC’s The Takeaway from Wednesday, June 1, 2011.


Once I was at your place and we were in your room with a few other cousins and your buddies. You and the older boys were playing Resident Evil.

“Hermano,” your brother Pedro said. “Cool it.”
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From Alliance Summer Intern Rick Morgan:
As an intern with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, I’ve read some great examples of teen writing, and this piece was one of many that stuck out for me. This two-page short short story thrusts the reader into the middle of a dialogue that reveals the past through subtlety and implication. The dialogue in this piece is coupled by an array of minor actions that give the two characters away. The man’s smile, most noticeably, is an uneasy attempt to cloud grief with a fabricated feeling of indifference. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this story is the writer’s use of metaphor. Take, for example, the sentence, “Rocío García Sanchez lives on his back; she is a heavy pair of wings that do not inspire flight.” Though it’s a short piece, a startling amount is revealed about the characters by the end. Their pasts are intimately felt, and their futures are left to your imagination. Read More