Scholastic Writing Contest – Writer Spotlight (Part 2)

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 300,000 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! In fact, Write from the Heart had more winners in the 2017 contest than ever before! 18 of our students received a total of 21 awards among them.

Scholastic Art and Writing Contest Logo

Scholastic Silver Key Winners

Those earning a Silver Key earned something like a 2nd place award, meaning they were in the top 5% of the entries.

Jay Kim (Basic Composition)

Category: Short Story

Inspector Bunny and the Case of the Sacred Carrots

Jay crafted a magical story in a world of Bunnies. We get to see this little town, along with its mysteries, from the eyes of Inspector Bunny, a long-earned detective with a heart of gold.

“You failed. So, you must succeed again. If you become modest and true, you will surely succeed in gaining the trust of the Bunnies. You shouldn’t hide from your failure. You must learn from it and become better.”

Deklan Baker (Intermediate Composition)

Category: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Hazel’s Heart

To accurately capture the point of view of a single mother is an astonishing accomplishment for any writer. To be a teenaged boy and to do so it down right astonishing. With wit, humor, and love, Deklan manages to weave together a story of a mother and her little ones, along with the unconditional love that extends between them.

I can see what he’s about to do before he even throws the first item. He tosses the bananas out of the cart with a triumphant yip. I rush over to pick the bananas up on one side of the cart. As I’m doing that, Leo throws the milk out of the other side of the cart, while Remi and Seamus are giggling uncontrollably at our antics. I collect myself; we just need to get a few more things. I try my best to look calm and composed, even though I’m screaming internally.

Leo stops slinging our groceries just as we pass the candy aisle.

“MAMA!!!” Remi shrieks, “CANDY!!!!!”

I quickly push to the next aisle. We’re so close to going home, I think desperately. Just a few more things to buy. But, Remi knows what she wants. Candy. And she was not going to let me forget it. In fact, now, she has a song about it.

Addie DiGiacamo (Literature II)

Category: Short Story

A Matter of Truth

Addie’s Scholastic submission deals with a particularly difficult topic: the trustworthiness of news. From the point of view of a journalist, we get a glimpse into the inner thoughts and reasoning of someone who… lies. Addie takes us on a journey of discovery as this news writer struggles against one of everyone’s greatest villains, which is their self.

I would never have called it lying. Not really. Tweaking, manipulating, controlling, mollifying, and telling them what they wanted to hear…what I wanted them to hear. I assured myself they were the same thing and furthermore, that they were justified. I had been told that we should only do as we please, that we should only hear what we want. It wasn’t about purported truth; it was about preference.

John Shupert (Literature II)

Category: Personal Essay and Memoir

It’s All Fun and Games Until

With an honest introspection, John explains how our emotions can sometimes get the best of us, leading us to take an action we might not otherwise have done if we’d had a level head. The story doesn’t end there, though. True to life, so many of those moments have after-effects. Through his writing, we get to experience a moment like this from an 8-year-old point of view, when the world seems so big.

Run! Ruuuuuun!

That’s all I thought. That’s was the only thing in my head. The only presence in my mind. I saw things as I sprinted by, but they flowed freely in and out of vision. Nothing stuck; I just ran. They were coming. So many of them. I risked a glance back and saw… nothing? I paused for a second, seeing nothing but trees, bushes and, POP! Pft, pft, pft. I leap to the side and look down at my leg.  There was a dull panging in my shin, and as I looked down, I saw a deep, sticky red substance oozing up.

“I’m hit,” I declared.

Pfft pfft pfft another in my shoulder and one in my neck.

“I’m hit!” I yelled even louder.

“Man down!” I hear them say. The air horn screeches below signaling the end of the game.

Grace Calk (AP English)

Categories: Flash Fiction and Journalism

Created a Criminal and Edith Wharton

Grace definitely earned her share of Scholastic awards this year. In fact, she took home an honorable mention, as well as two silver keys. This young writer clearly has such potential. For example, in her flash fiction story, she asks readers to take a look at the world from the point of view of someone considered a criminal. Are they really a criminal? Or is there something justifiable about their actions?

In the name of what he termed “only fair,” he stole others’ sense of safety and value. Always accusing others of his own faults, he barreled through his life with a sense of entitlement and immunity. What admirable qualities he may have possessed were overshadowed by his insufficiencies, and his near-malice towards the people who loved him injured his own identity more than he knew. I swore I would be better than my dad – that I would strive to treat others well regardless of how they treated me, that I would love without expecting anything in return.

Drew Hitchcock (AP English)

Category: Flash Fiction

February 23, 1945

When you think of historical fiction from the WWII era, you probably bring to mind various stories following the Jewish in their concentration camps or the heroic efforts of the Allied Powers. Drew goes a bit against the grain and gives us a fresh perspective. From the eyes of a factory worker, we get a glimpse into what it was like to be a part of Nazi Germany, hoping for a win.

            Despite Germany’s tactical retreats on the front and the bombings against the city, my production here at the Pforzheim aircraft factory was at a record high. If I kept churning out five planes a week, I would receive my promised promotion: I would become overseer of all the Reich’s aircraft plants, reporting directly to the Führer. Standing at Hitler’s side, my planes would strike terror into the hearts of the Allies, retaking France and winning the war.

RING! RING! My telephone blared, snapping me out of my trance.

“Hello?” I said, picking up the device.

“Hello, Captain Müller,” the voice greeted me urgently. “Sir, American B-21’s have been spotted by one of our supply convoys a few minutes away from your position by air.”

“What? How many?”

“Around 500, plus a significant fighter escort.”

“Oh dear,” I murmured, flinging down the phone and sprinting down from my booth.

Charlotte Swafford (Independent Study)

Category: Flash Fiction and Humor

Fire, Fire, Fire and Best on the Block

Charlotte is yet another Write from the Heart student who managed to earn more than one Scholastic award. She received a silver key for both her humor piece, as well as her flash fiction. And, it’s no wonder. Her ability to weave sensory details into a snapshot is exceptional. Check out this excerpt from Fire, Fire, Fire to see for yourself:

I froze in terror, my ears becoming numb to the cacophony of explosions beating on me. All I could see was the figure who, despite all the bullets in the air, was still moving in my direction. Something yelled at me to fire, fire, fire, and save yourself, but I was strangely fascinated by the choppy, sporadic movement of his limbs moving over the torn-up landscape. He was getting closer and closer, closing the distance, almost to me…