Students and teachers offer tips for Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

A written quote by senior Cassie Snow shines on Mr. Scott’s quote board in BC01 – Photo by Rachel Dupree

By Rachel Dupree – September 27, 2017

The 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are open for submissions, and each year students write or create art specifically for this contest with the guidance of English and creative writing teachers.

“Scholastic doesn’t censor ideas or limit students on what they can write about,” said English teacher Maureen Barclay, who is a juror for Scholastic at the Regional level. “The audience is teens and young adults, and so any topic is permissible.”

According to its website, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the most prestigious recognition program for grades 7-12, and it looks for work that “demonstrates originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal voice or vision.”

“Get out of your comfort zone and let it all out,” said junior Claire Guin, who won a Silver Key for one of her works that she submitted to the competition.

Students such as Jacob Wise, a junior who also won a Silver Key, agree with this. He said students who are trying to come up with a topic should write about something they can relate to and make other people relate to.

“People go through so many different experiences, and when students read other students’ works, it can open their eyes to a new point of view,” junior Taylor Guin said. She won a Silver Key for her portfolio.

When trying to style a piece, creative writing teacher Michael Scott said, “Don’t be afraid to emulate the style of an author you admire.” However, he also said there is a difference between borrowing from and plagiarizing.

Students can also look at the world around them for inspiration and keep a notebook or journal in which to record ideas.

“Read a lot - you will pick up so many ideas,” junior Georgia Hilburn, a Gold Key winner, said.

Students in Scott’s creative writing class write pieces that will eventually be considered for submission to the competition. Part of his goal is to help students create a library of works that they can pull from if they want to submit a piece to writing contests like Scholastic, Seedlings and Art Break.

“Your first draft is never your final draft,” Scott said. It is not recommended that students write the first draft and turn it in. A work should be proofread and critiqued more than just once, or until the author is satisfied.

The deadline for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is Dec. 7, 2017. Students can enter artworks, short stories in a myriad of genres, poems and portfolios. The fee is $5 per individual submission and $20 for portfolios. Entries can be submitted online through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards website.