Scholastic announces national awards

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Caitlyn Pyson-Titman’s photo, titled “Long Legs,” won a Gold Medal in photography. (Photo/Caitlyn Pyson-Titman)

Out of the Gold Key works that were judged at the regional Scholastic Art and Writing competition from December to January, five American Heritage students received an award at the national level. Of the five awards, four were for art or photography with one for poetry, and two were Gold Medals, while the rest were Silver Medals. Scholastic announced the results Wednesday morning.

At the regional level, students are eligible to win gold or silver keys, honorable mentions and a nomination for American Voices (writing) or American Visions (art). Those who received gold keys advance to the national level, where they have the opportunity to win a variety of awards.

“Since 1923, the Awards have celebrated teen artists and writers from across the country,” according to the letter that medal winners received. “You are now a part of that legacy, joining the ranks of celebrated alumni like artists Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, and Kay WalkingStick; writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, and Joyce Carol Oates; and filmmakers Lena Dunham and Ken Burns. This year we’re pleased to present the 2019 Alumni Achievement Award to astronomer Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz, who received a Scholastic Award for painting in 1996. No matter what paths you pursue, we hope this recognition will open doors for you and inspire you to achieve new heights.”

Junior Caitlyn Pyson-Titman, who won a Gold Medal for her photography, has been submitting to Scholastic for four years. “I’ve been doing Scholastic ever since I’ve been in an art class,” Pyson-Titman said. “It’s required to submit stuff [if you’re in art classes], but this is one of the first big awards I won.” 

After winning a silver key her freshman year, Pyson-Titman received two gold keys this year for two photos she took of her sister. Her gold medal-winning photo was titled “Long Legs,” and it was part of a tryptic she made for her photography class. 

“I needed another photo that would fit better, that would make it flow,” she said. “I took more pictures of my sister, and the one that won was the one I fit into the tryptic and it was also really strong by itself.” She plans to attend the national ceremony for gold-medal winners at Carnegie Hall June 6. 

Junior Adel Hashimova attributes his Gold Medal to his teacher Mrs. Teresa Smith, who helped “achieve this level of what I can do,” he said. Hashimova received his medal for a photo he took of his native country of Azerbaijan. “We decided to take a road trip around Azerbaijan and from the love for my country inspiration came,” he said.

Out of the roughly 340,000 pieces submitted this year, the medalists are the top 1 percent of all submissions. Apart from regular medals, students are eligible for a variety of other specialty awards, such as Civic Expression Award to The Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoon.

Pyson-Titman was still processing what had happened. “It’s a national competition, so I think it’s kind of a big deal,” she said. “Scholastic submissions were always something I had to do, and I only knew Scholastic on the local level like being at Young At Art, but it’s not that anymore.”

The medal winners are eligible for scholarships for participating summer programs, and their works will be published in the 2019 Scholastic yearbook as well as online.

National Medal Winners

Freshman Sophia Curbelo: Silver Medal in drawing and illustration
Sophomore Shaowen Gong: Silver Medal in painting
Senior Adel Hashimova: Gold Medal in photography
Senior Olivia Lloyd: Silver Medal in poetry
Junior Caitlyn Pyson-Titman: Gold Medal in photography

Freshman Sophia Curbelo’s work won her a Scholastic Silver Medal. She described her process in creating her award-winning piece. “First, I sketched the scene based on a photo I took. Next, I painted the base colors on with watercolors,” she said. “I then started strengthening the colors by applying shadows and more saturated hues using Prismacolor pencils.” (Photo/Sophia Curbelo)

Olivia is a senior hailing from South Florida. In addition to newspaper, she has worked on the staff of Expressions Literary Magazine and is an editor of Spotlight Yearbook. Additionally, she is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Pressing the Future, an online international news organization. She has a passion for both journalistic and creative writing, but outside of the writing sphere she is a cross-country runner and social rights activist.

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