Sunday, May 24, 2015

Diamond State Branch Nurtures Young Writers: Delaware Writing Region Scholastic Awards

On April 21 the Diamond State Branch honored five winners of the 2015 Delaware Scholastic Writing and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
 The reception, emceed by Diamond State Branch member and Delaware Poet Laureate, JoAnn Balingit, was held at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware.

 During the reception, each of the young writers read selections from their amazing works. We were struck with their poise, grace, presence and skill.

This year’s honorees, left to right: 
Ivana Gatica, 17, The Sanford School, Gold Key Portfolio and Boden Award winner
Katherine Alberta, 13, of Ursuline Academy, National Gold Medal in Personal Essay/Memoir
Katie Houser, 17, Ursuline Academy, National Gold medal in Poetry
Kyna Smith, 16, Cab Calloway School of the Arts, National Silver Medal in Poetry & American Voices Medal
Emily Lugg, 13, Ursuline Academy, National Gold Medal in Poetry

 About the Awards Program 

The Diamond State Branch began working with the Delaware State Division of the Arts to revitalize the Delaware region Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as part of our commitment to nurturing and encouraging young writers and artists. The program, begun in 1925 by the founder of Scholastic Magazine, Maurice R. Robinson, is the longest-running, most prestigious literary recognition for teens in the U.S. This year, nearly 550 Delaware students participated with 173 young writers and artists awarded a total of 240 awards. There were 27 Gold Keys, 88 Silver Keys, 5 American Voices awards and 120 Honorable Mention for poetry, flash fiction, short story, memoir and dramatic script. The program is also a large source of scholarships. In the last five years, students have submitted more than 900,000 original works of art and writing, and $40 million in scholarships and financial aid were available to winners. Each year, national winners in art and writing, selected from among the regional Gold Key recipients. Eight senior writing portfolios and eight senior visual arts portfolios are awarded National Gold Medals and $10,000 scholarships. Teachers of top regional winners are also recognized with cash awards. Today, the program is overseen by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers (AYAW) working with more than 100 regional affiliate organizations. Being an affiliate of the AYAW helps fulfill our mission as we inspire student authors and artists to participate at the state and national levels and assure they get the well earned recognition they deserve. Past recipients of the awards include Sylvia Plath, Steven King, Truman Capote, John Updike and Carolyn Forches.

 Onward in 2016!  We look forward to the 2016 season during which we plan to target public school students and teachers, particularly those in state-designated ‘turn-around’ schools in Wilmington and New Castle.

Want to know more? Our students’ national honors are posted on our Facebook® page which can be found at You can learn more about the AYAW at:

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