Hunter Peterson and Danielle Miller, seniors at Hood River Valley High School and Cayla Sacre, a junior, won notable awards in 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, one of the most prestigious national recognition program for students in the U.S.
Teens in grades 7 through 12 submit in 28 categories of art and writing for their chance to have their works exhibited or published.
Students in Hood River submit to the West Region-At-Large, competing against students from California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Honorable Mentions are awarded to 15-20 percent of regional works, Silver Keys are awarded to 10-15 percent of regional works, and Gold Keys, which represent the highest level of achievement in the region, are awarded to only 7-10 percent of regional works.
These works move on to national judging in New York City. Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, and John Updike are just a few Scholastic award winners in the writing category.
This year, the competition received more than 230,000 original works.
Sacre, a newcomer to the competition and to writing, was awarded a Silver Key for her poetry collection. In the future, she hopes to write scripts for TV shows.
“Writing is one of the most beautiful and emotional art forms, and I wish more people considered writing art,” she said. “It feels bad to be snubbed by the artistic community. This contest gave me a lot of confidence in my writing.”
Miller, who has previously won a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in digital photography, won a Silver Key for her essay on Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”
She originally found the competition through her art class, noticed the writing category, and decided to submit.
“It is ridiculous that succeeding in writing is required to graduate, yet succeeding in it as an art form is not recognized. Writing should be regarded as an art form because it is used to convey feelings in the same way as other art.”
Peterson, a hopeful novelist and screenwriter and a four-year veteran of the competition, won two Gold Keys and two Honorable mentions, bringing her to 14 total awards, including three Gold Keys, six Silver Keys, and five Honorable Mentions.
She has won in poetry, short story, memoir, and persuasive writing. She has also been published in Hobby Farm Home and Teen Ink, a national teen writing magazine, which also awarded her a place in their New York City Summer Writing Intensive.
“Writing is not second-class art, though it is often treated that way because it is harder to absorb and harder to appraise than visual art,” she said. “The writers represent a much smaller group than the visual art students at HRV, for whom entry into Scholastic is pushed by the teachers. We don’t have that teacher involvement, so those who do know about Scholastic submit entirely on our own. I wish that the writers were recognized with the same level of celebration as the art students by both the school and the community.”
To donate, view nationally recognized works, or for more information, visit artandwriting.org.