Teacher Diane Heath with award-winning daughter and students Rebecca Heath, Amber Dietz, Katie Doyle, Audrey Benjaminsen, Sara Harbin and Mandy Hess.

Diane Heath of Rochester Hills, Michigan, has had a great year. Diane works at Stoney Creek High School where she’s an art teacher. This year her students include Portfolio Gold and Gold Medal winners, and her own children are Scholastic Award winners as well!

In the following interview by Alliance Staffer Lisa Feder-Feitel, Diane shares her experience and advice.
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Pittsburgh Region Art Coordinator Frances Hawbaker painting a mural.

After ten years, the Scholastic Art Awards have returned to Pittsburgh, PA

The Scholastic Awards program has its roots in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was Scholastic Inc.’s headquarters for many years and where the program got its start back in the 1920s. In fact, numerous famous artists like Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein and Mel Bochner were enrolled in Pittsburgh high schools when they won their Scholastic Art Awards. Read More

Joseph Fitzpatrick teaching at his Saturday art class at the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh. (Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Online).

Teachers play a critical role in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. One teacher who impacted the lives of his students was art teacher Joseph Fitzpatrick of Pittsburgh, PA.

Joseph Fitzpatrick was a well-known local artist who taught art classes in high school and extracurricular weekend art classes at the Carnegie Institute. Many of his students would go on to become well-known artists: students and past Scholastic Award winners included Philip Pearlstein, Mel Bochner and Andy Warhol. Read More

George Lu and Tony Pan. Three Trials of Tito. Grade 8, Age 13. 2010 Gold Medal, Video Games.

You might already know the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have a video game design category (sponsored by AMD!). But did you know that now teachers have a place to go to online to find tools for their students to design their own video games? AMD Foundation, the Alliance and Scholastic come together thanks to AMD Changing the Game, to bring you video gaming excitement and education with a new online initiative – Level Up!

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Teacher, author and 2010 Ovation Inspired Teacher for writing, Scott Gould has already garnered a bevy of awards for his writing and teaching, including a Surdna Arts Teacher Fellowship, Literature Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission, a previous Gold Apple Teacher Award, and publication in Kenyon Review, Carolina Quarterly and New Stories from the South, among others. We asked him why he encourages students to participate in the Scholastic Writing Awards.

Scott: The Awards is the litmus test for young writers. It offers students the opportunity to see how they stack up against their peers across the country. We also know that the judges will be experienced writers who know how to recognize good work. The entry process has its value too. It’s akin to getting a manuscript ready for an editor. Students have to make sure their presentation is perfect, nothing out of place. Read More

American author John Steinbeck found his writing voice during the Great Depression. In this open letter to all aspiring writers, he shares the best writing advice his teacher ever gave him.

Dear Writer:

Although it must be a thousand years ago that I sat in a class in story writing at Stanford, I remember the experience very clearly. I was bright-eyes and bushy-brained and prepared to absorb the secret formula for writing good short stories, even great short stories. This illusion was canceled very quickly. The only way to write a good short story, we were told, is to write a good short story. Only after it is written can it be taken apart to see how it was done. It is a most difficult form, as we were told, and the proof lies in how very few great short stories there are in the world.

The basic rule given us was simple and heartbreaking. Read More