Scholastic Writing Contest – Writer Spotlight (Part 1)

Each year, Write from the Heart students enter a contest: The Scholastic Writing Contest. This isn’t your average contest, though; the stakes are high In fact, there are over 330,000 entries from across the U.S. every year. And, of those entries, only the top 10% receive some kind of recognition. Our students consistently place among these amazing writers, joining the ranks of previous Scholastic winners, like Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath, and Truman Capote.

This year was no exception! Write from the Heart got more than its share of student recognition. In fact, 18 of our students received a total of 21 awards among them. Here is a spotlight of those receiving the Scholastic Honorable Mention for their work.

Scholastic Art and Writing Contest Logo

Scholastic Honorable Mentions

By earning an “Honorable Mention,” a student as won something equivalent to a 3rd place, which means they’ve placed in the top 10% of all students who entered the contest.

Isaac F. (Basic Composition)

Category: Short Story

The Adventures of Hunter the Giant Dog

Isaac takes us to a world where size matters. A dog named Hunter finds himself outgrowing his hometown of Pequena, and he’s on a mission to find the city where he’ll fit it: Gigantor. The question is, will his size be a help or a hindrance?

“I’m taking a leap of faith,” shouted Hunter. “At least, that’s what I think they call it.”



Claudia P. (Intermediate Composition)

Category: Memoir/Short Story

Learning to Have Patience/The Paintings

Claudia received two Scholastic recognitions: one for her memoir and one for her fictional story. Her memoir explores her travels and relationships as she learns to trust that things will work out if only she has patience. In contrast, her fictional story brings the thrilling tale of two children trapped in a haunted house. This isn’t your average haunted house, though; in fact, the terrors take a more artistic form. Here’s an excerpt from her story, as paintings come to life:

His body was still flat, and he walked in a way that you would imagine a zombie to walk, swaying back and forth since his one leg was much longer than the other. Then came a man who looked like a Native American chief. He was very muscular and had a feather hat. He led all the paintings around a circle in a warrior chant.


Will N. (Literature I)

Category: Poetry

With the stunning use of interesting adjectives, metaphors, and sensory details, Will’s poetry provides readers with wonderfully vivid imagery.

Overcome with wonder,
I made my way outside,
I didn’t hear the thunder
Of the machines rolling by.

I looked up and saw the lights
Of the cars in front of me,
My whole body froze from fright,
I closed my eyes, so not to see.


James H. (Literature II)

Category: Short Story

The Human Spectrum

With heartfelt words and a solemn tone, James takes readers on an exploration into the struggles of a young man named Josh. What does it mean to be different? To be unacceptable in a place where you only want to belong? Or worse, to have the people you felt you could trust turn on you? His words provide inspiration and hope for those who might feel like an outsider in their own world.

The sun was setting on the lake trail downtown as I listened to the gravel scraping beneath my feet. To my left, I watched paddle boarders walking on shore and picking up their boards to end the day, and to my right, a few joggers were finishing their evening runs. Everyone around me seemed so happy, so content. I, however, was falling apart.


Marita K. (Literature II)

Category: Short Story

Through the eyes of a girl named Aaliyah, we get a glimpse into the difficult life of a child in foster care. From bouncing around between homes to the strict, harsh, and sometimes downright abusive “parents” these kids are subjected to, a child in foster care has to have thick skin to survive. But, what happens when that armor is torn away?

“Reggie, this is Aliyah. She’s going to be your sister.”

Aliyah recoiled when the word “sister” came out of Mrs. Morgan’s mouth. She would never be part of anyone’s family again. In a few years, Aliyah would turn eighteen and be able to escape the foster care system.


Benjamin E. (AP English)

Category: Flash Fiction

Making a Connection

In a short story, Benjamin follows a young man named Jacob on his daily travels to school. Though the story isn’t quite 850 words, it covers the span of more than a year. And, even more than that, it bears witness to a significant change within the soul of a boy. The final sentence will leave you with goosebumps!

As it was New York City, Jacob was accustomed to seeing homeless people. However, something about this one… something caught his attention. He looked the poor man up and down several times, wondering how anyone could stoop so low as to beg.


Jack N. (AP English)

Category: Poetry

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

In a parody of the well-known, “To be or not to be…” soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Jack details the struggles of an insomniac. His work is fresh, unique, and oh-so-wonderfully written in the blank verse style commonly associated with the Bard, himself. Just have a look at what Jack has created:

… To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep (of joy) what dreams may come
When we have pulled up the covers to our chins,
To make us rest. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long night.


Katherine N. (AP English)

Category: Flash Fiction

Rising Above

The competition among brothers is a well-known conflict in just about any age or culture. And, as Katherine demonstrates, the only thing that may surpass this competitive nature is the love between brothers. It’s amazing what someone can overcome when they fear the worst for their loved one.

After getting on to the first branch, Joe quickly but carefully made his way towards his brother, who watched lazily from his lofty branch. Joe slipped once as he climbed, and his heart was suddenly in his mouth. He clutched the branches in his hands desperately while his feet hurriedly searched for footholds. With his eyes squeezed shut, Joe waited for his heart to slow to its normal pace and thought with a shiver about what could’ve happened if he’d fallen.

“What’s taking you so long?” Sam called.


Katie P. (AP English)

Category: Poetry

A Dog’s Thoughts

Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking about? Well, the mystery’s been solved, all thanks to Katie! In that, we learn that not only is a dog considered whether or not it’ll be worth the effort to beg for food, but we also learn that dogs are amazingly well-spoken! Here’s the opening to her poetry:

To beg, or not to beg–that is the question:
Whether ’tis smarter in the mind to suffer
The correction and anger of outraged owners
Or to take stand against a sea of hunger pains
And by eating, end them. To starve, to eat–
No more–and by eating to say we end
The hunger, and the rumblings which
Upset my stomach.