CVHS students win over 50 Scholastic Art and Writing awards


Humza Hanif

Senior Humza Hanif’s Gold-Key winning photograph.

The Scholastic Art & Writing is a nationally recognized contest that allows students from all over the United States to submit their art in all forms of media such as poetry and memoirs to paintings and photography. This program allows kids to display their talents and receive recognition through awards and scholarships. This year Carnegie Vanguard Highschool students earned over 50 awards and honorable mentions.

“I’ve done art since I can remember, probably for around 13+ years, but I only got into digital art recently in the past 2 to 3 years or so. I submitted a digital art piece this time.” Joy received the Scholastic Silver Art Award along with an honorable mention in the art category! 

“I get a lot of inspiration from artists that I like that I see online, and also from just sketching and working through ideas from a specific prompt or theme.  I was happy that my art piece received recognition, but honestly it made me a bit regretful that I didn’t submit anything for scholastics until now.”

“I submitted photography and my only reaction when I won an award was ‘Nice.’ I’ve been doing photography for 10 years now, this year will be my 11th. I think that ‘Transcend’ is my strongest surreal artwork and  ‘Decisive Moment’ is my strongest humanistic artwork.” Humza received an art honorable mention.

“A lot of my inspiration stems from studying great photographers and art movements from the past. All my art has emotional meaning and connections attached to it. Art without emotion isn’t art.”

Humza Hanif

“I submitted a memoir and a series of poems. I have been writing since elementary school, but I only got into the poetic prose type of writing in late middle school. I really enjoy using the medium of writing to provide people with different ways to view the world. When I heard I got an award I was shocked and super excited. I’d been putting off writing my pieces for a long time because I hadn’t been feeling really inspired . It was so gratifying to have a piece that was purely a burst of inspiration and emotion turned into writing be recognized and validated in such a way.” Olutobi received a Scholastic Gold Writing Award.

“My older sister and my relationship with her inspired my memoir piece. My strongest and only piece I submitted that got an award was my memoir. I think the theme, messages, and images I drew through my writing was much clearer. My memoir has a very special place in my heart because it came from a very vulnerable, personal place. I don’t really speak to people about my family, so it was a new experience. It was also a great way to push myself to be more reflective and introspective in my writing. It was one of the shortest pieces I’d ever written which made me doubt myself at some points, but looking back, I can see that adding more would have detracted from it.”

I have never owned a diary. I have never trusted a bunch of pieces of paper bound together within pieces of brown leather to hold the musings, questions, answers, secrets held inside my brown skin and brown girl heart.

But I have an older sister.

My older sister is everything good about a diary and none of the bad. I have never seen a diary inspire growth. It only assumes that I will and then watches to see if that hypothesis becomes reality. She is growth catalyst. She is mind, heart, and spirit bound together by veins within sheets of brown skin and brown girl heart.

She is a locked diary with perforated pages. Pages that only sit in the diary for as long as it takes me to write everything I’ve kept bottled up for the day or week or however long it has taken me to find the courage, the time, or the privacy to sit down and speak. Because once I am done speaking, her pages will lose their connection to the binding of my journal: her mind, her heart and kiss the edge of a flame. They will burn. They will become ash that only she can turn back into solid, warm secrets. She will defy the laws of nature again and again to protect the things I don’t trust with anyone, the thoughts I probably shouldn’t have, and the million lives I could have if I was just a little bit different. Or maybe once I am done speaking, her pages will be tightly folded and stored in a walled-off place in her mind that only I have the key to. Either way, my older sister is ready to become an extension of my safe place, my mind.

She is blue and green Bic highlighters. When I tell my older sister about Thief who sits next to me in class, I first tell her about Thief’s voice. I tell her that I hate it. I hate the way it grates. Moving across my eardrums like nails on a chalkboard. As I empty my heart on the lines and in the margins of her pages, my older sister reads between the lines. She highlights in blue and understanding replaces stolen belongings. I learn that I hate the way Thief’s voice baits. Trying to deceive me into thinking those eyes that follow my every move aren’t stealing something. Stealing answers, stealing laughs at my expense, constantly stealing something. Thief’s voice reminds me of Thief’s theft, constantly. Older sister connects the dots. She highlights hate in green over and over. Understanding replaces hate. I learn to hate the word hate. Hate paired with Thief is a meal doused in poison. It tastes like death resting on my lips. Older sister highlights. I taste life, and love replaces hate. I learn. I can hate Thief’s theft, but I cannot hate Thief. I have to love Thief because I am called by God to love others. I learn this all about the girl who steals from me. I learn this all about myself by reading between the lines now highlighted Bic’s blue and green.

The only musing I’d ever entrust to a bunch of pieces of paper bound together between pieces of brown leather is the story of my older sister, a diary of mind, heart, and veins bound together by spirit.

I have never owned a diary. But I have an older sister. And I’d say that she is better.

“I submitted several pieces of writing; both prose and poetry. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I’ve been writing more formally, with a plot and intention behind what I write, since I was about 10 or 11, so it’s been about six or seven years. A lot of those early pieces will never see the light of day if I have anything to say about it, but their influences are still present in my current work. This is my second year submitting to Scholastic, and both times I’ve had pieces that I’ve hoped will do well and I’m more confident about and pieces that I’m just kind of throwing in for the sake of it. Both years I’ve also had two pieces do extremely well–one from each group. My first thought was more general surprise and gratitude because I was hoping that my portfolio would do okay but I didn’t imagine I would get a gold key. My second thought was definitely “What were the judges thinking???” because I didn’t think that “How to Unwrap a Gift” was very good, and I absolutely didn’t think it was my best individual piece this year.” Brooke received 2 Gold Writing award, 3 Silver Writing awards and 6 Writing Honorable Mentions.

“I get inspiration for my writing from my own life. Many of my pieces are directly inspired by various family members, like my piece “Don’t Get Old”, which was inspired by my great-grandmother. Anything I write usually comes from a combination of a very strong emotion triggered by an event in my life and a person who I’ve been thinking about throughout the weeks leading up to when I write the piece. All of my work is driven by a personal emotion. Fear for my brother’s future, anger at society’s expectations, grief from my great-grandmother’s death–the list is endless. I think it’s kind of impossible for any artist to create without an emotional coordinate to get started.”

A new boy has moved into the neighborhood. He is such a sweet boy, such a polite boy. He has gone to every house to greet the people inside, to make friends where others these days would simply see neighbors. I know he’s done this because now he is at my door, and I can’t think of another reason he would be here. Can’t think of another reason someone new would be here, no.
Now he is standing in my living room, waiting for cookies. He introduced himself, I think, but his name has slipped my mind. That happens a lot these days–don’t ever get old. Your mind turns into a sieve. Young people remember everything. Sometimes I think they’re making things up just to confuse me but I guess they probably aren’t. Young people are mostly polite, even if I like to pretend they aren’t, and it would be terribly rude to trick an old woman.
I introduced myself too. “I’m Mrs. Schrier,” I said, and something about the words tasted wrong but a lot of things taste wrong these days. Don’t ever get old. Nothing tastes right anymore.
Cookies! I was going to get that polite boy cookies. He’s waiting for them in the living room, see. And here I am, in my–no, this is the kitchen.
That was silly of me. For a second I thought I was in my bedroom, but I’m not. This is the kitchen.
The walls are tiled with a flower pattern my George did back when he was still working. U-nique, he always called it. One of a kind. He promised he’d never done another pattern like that for anyone. They go all the way around the room to the sink.
Why did I leave the cookies in the sink, I wonder. Oh well, there they are, and now I can bring that nice boy cookies like I promised. I pile them high on a plate. They’re such bright cookies, all yellow and green.
“Here you go!” I say. He takes the plate gingerly. Such a polite boy–he doesn’t want to knock the pile over and waste my cookies.
“Thank you,” he says. I knew he was polite!
“Sit, please,” I offer. He does, balancing on the edge of my flowered couch. I sit too. I fold myself into the high-backed armchair across from the couch and let it turn me into a queen holding court. “How are your parents?” I ask, to make small talk. I’m very good at small talk. I was the president of my social club, back in high school and I had to make small talk every week with the other girls.
“My parents?” he echoes, a tremble in his voice that I don’t think was there a moment ago. Poor thing! One’d think he’d never held a conversation before.
“Of course, dear,” I say. “Are you settling into the neighborhood? My husband is at work now, but I’m sure he would be happy to help your father with any repairs. They don’t sell houses ready to move in anymore, I’m afraid.”
The boy’s face flickers, shuttering pain and then landing on a carefully smooth expression. “I’ll let you know if we need any help,” he promises.
That’s settled, then. I’ll have to remember to remind George when he comes home that a new family has moved in and needs help with repairs.
He repaired our bathroom, once, when Fred went after the walls with a baseball bat for some reason or another, I don’t remember now. That happens sometimes, when you’re old. Don’t ever get old. You can’t remember silly things like why your son attacked the bathroom.
Oh! Yes, I do remember. Fred must’ve been five or six and he’d been insistent for months that he wanted a new baby brother. Well, instead Maria was born, and George came home from the hospital to break the news. Fred was devastated, but George was distracted by bringing me some fresh clothes, and we had a neighbor watching Fred but she’d go home in the afternoons. So even though the neighbor was supposed to be watching him, Fred waited until she’d left and went after the bathroom with a bat before I even came home.
Maria and Fred are good friends now. A rocky start, but she’s starting fifth grade this fall and he’s promised to look out for her.
“Won’t you, Fred?” I ask out loud.
Fred’s eyebrows furrow. “What?”
“You will,” I agree. “You’re a good boy, Fred.”
I pull him off the couch and hug him close. He leans into me stiffly, never shifting much weight onto my side, but I hold him anyway. He’s taller than I remember Fred being, but I guess that’s just my memory slipping. Don’t ever get old. Even your son hugging you will feel strange and unfamiliar.
I shove the strange man leaning into me away. He stumbles, ever slightly, bewilderment twisting his face.
“Get away from me!” I cry. My voice is flimsy, none of the confidence I tried to summon bleeding into my vocal cords.
He steps back, and then steps back again. He raises his hands in a motion that could be placating. He takes another step away, and this time slams the backs of his knees into the couch behind him, collapsing him backwards onto the couch.
“Wait–” he tries.
I’m scared. I’m alone. Tears are stinging my eyes and I don’t know where they came from and I don’t know where I am, is this my house? Is this where I live? Where’s George? Where’s Fred, and Maria? Where are my babies?
“Stay away!” I scream again at the man on my couch. “I don’t know you!”
He flinches, like I should. But I don’t, I don’t know him, and I don’t remember anything, and my chest hurts. My knees hurt, and my hands hurt.
Everything hurts. I can’t remember anything. I feel so, so old.
Don’t ever get old.
Don’t ever get old.
My gasping breath catches in my throat, and it becomes more difficult to shake than it is to just breathe. My pounding heart begins to nestle back into my ribcage, offering reassurance with every half-beat more it hesitates. The hot tears burning the corners of my eyes slow, like rain showers in the spring.
The boy is staring at me, hurt fading from his fingers as panic drains from my own. For a moment, we just stay there–him collapsed in an awkward pile of limbs on the couch that matches my kitchen and me towering with slippered feet braced unevenly on a knitted rug.
He stands. I don’t move.
Gently, softly, he leans forward and places a kiss on my forehead. “I’ll see you next week, Grandma,” Christopher promises.
Christopher. Christopher.
No, wait–
“Christopher!” I call.
He whirls, painful hope blossoming on his face.
But my mind has already begun to wander again.
Don’t ever get old.

“I submitted a creative writing short story. I haven’t done creative writing much, and to be honest, I’m not that committed to it. I mainly wrote this for fun and to help me through tough times, rather than a hobby I’d pursue for the future. When I heard about the award, I would say I felt both neutral amazement and at the same time assurance. I was surprised because I had initially thought that my essay wasn’t strong or good enough. By getting the reward, I felt a sense of assurance that at least some people out there see light in my work.” Vincent won one Scholastic Gold Award for his writing.

” I often get my inspiration from watching movies and history videos about the world, whether action, adventure, or fantasy, and integrate the ideas into my writing. I also get it from realizing what people go through and the events and conversations of everyday life. When you are intent in watching how other people work and the things they say, you are informed by who they are and why they are who they are. By looking at the world today, it is clear that the world is far from perfect, and perfection is only temporary, which is where I obtained my initial idea for my writing pieces. I wrote at the time, especially during the era of my life where I saw the world and its issues. I felt bad for those who were suffering, but at the same time understood maybe why they or the enemy did what they did. Another emotion was isolationism, which was seen through the pandemic. 

Part I:
The brilliant sky shines upon the verdant land. From a makeshift haven, rays of Glory beam through chartreuse trees. A woman, frail and wrinkled in her skin yet animated in her eyes, sways in her hammock.
She gazes at a small orb, a lively one, flapping its wings for the first time. She can only imagine a child taking its first step, but it was a distant memory. The blue orb descends, lifting its body as it attempts to gain height. A ray of light illuminates her Precious like an angel fluttering, content with life.
The joyous laughs of children surrounds her, kicking a black-white ball along a field- with her at the center. The stubby woman rises, stumbling toward a rhombus lying in the grass beneath a pebble. She lifts the rock and grasps the string, ascending the kite upward beside the Precious. The children of all colors, little of age, and jubilant in smiles, congregated, admiring the pleasant sight. She smiles, reminded of the first time her boy saw the glider.
A magnificent sight.
The children beg for the thread, jumping with glee. She laughs with them, engulfing the world with peace, yet a black hole grows within. Sucking the life,
Her life.
She extends her hand, accepting the demands of the children. Only to hit nothing, only to hit something solid, dividing her from the crowd. Her heart races as she forces her body forward, only to meet the same fate as her hand.
Their smiles fade as they gaze into the sky; the Precious descends from the heavens-
But only there wasn’t heaven, there wasn’t light.
Her world was inundated in darkness, and her face was inundated in tears.
A young boy stumbles through the streets, bustling through the crowd. His milk white attire is spattered with cereal and spattered in cookie crumbs. His skin lays spots of charcoal with purple circles sprinkled about his flesh. Scabs dry from his exposed legs, and on his face lay a black eye. He’s a limping stick jostling between giants gussied up in suits, towered by stone buildings; potential shelter.
He is nothing but a grain in the bowl- a bowl of the lost and abandoned.
He turns to an alley, a dark hallway littered in bags and shattered glass with sticks where he sees a man bust a fist through another’s face- a man with a long beard and slim build. Blood gushes from the sitting man’s face, forming a puddle of the blood from a man who is forgotten by his fellow kind and kin, and who is left to rot on the dark hallways of the streets.
Eyes darting, the boy couldn’t bear the sight. His vision blurs, rising in search of a new spot to rest once more. For what had occurred to the man had happened to him.
No one he could turn to- he’d lost his fight long ago, of which was unfair in the first place.
Three to one and defenseless against armed, and left on the streets by the very people who had failed to care for him. He shivers as his eyes moisten; his heart pounds and his mind desires.
Emptiness grows from inside. No one has offered assistance and no one has bat an eye, indifferent about everyday life.
What had they been taught?
He halts, heart racing as his foot catches behind a ledge. He sighs. This wasn’t what he wanted his life to be.
The fragile and untroubled woman sleeps, drifting away as she sways in her hammock.
The boy drifts asleep, back against the wall with the natural air beating down. Another dark hallway would suffice.

Part II:
Transcendent, celestial and electric- the features of the divine prospect of a castle high upon a mountain. Distant as it rises past the clouds, the stone citadel, with a towering peak radiating in the sunset, rested upon a fortress preceding the sun. With a beaming, delicate ring of yellow, rays of light shot around the erection: a halo.
An violet airborne beast with skeletal and translucent wings landed atop the structure. With feathered skin of an eagle, its four legs are steady as a wavy tail wraps across the hood of the obelisk. It lifts it’s spiked snout into the heavens and unleashes inferno, setting the skies aflame.
Through her open window a mountain apart, she reaches for the door, eager to arrive at the sight. Her grin reaches both sides of her face, and her heart jumps like a baby bird up and down, awaiting its family for food and hope.
The door won’t budge; the door refuses, and her smile dims. Her heart settles, except with a growing hole of yearning. She’s reminded of her son and his wife, clothed in rags inside a chipping house, staring as they seal her away from her rest, from her privilege, and from her home- the very home she raised him from the ground, never to reach past the branches of content.
Tears soaked her face as she watched her son’s last glance, droopy eyes, darkened frown. If only…
Oh where are you ma?
She pivots, wiping her tears with a stomach churning.
I’m here! She cries.
A little boy appears, short in a newsboy hat and brown suit with a blood rose in his shirt pocket.
Would you read me a story? He grins with sparkling teeth.
She nods, and picks up a book with no cover- just a brown leather cover.
She opens it and opens her mouth, immersing herself with every word.
His journey commences where he had a plan, but it is a plan he doesn’t anticipate. He yearns for his home; he yearns for his parents, but hope has no avail.
A maroon lamborghini stops outside a restaurant, and there left a woman in a ivory dress of feathers like an eagle’s led by a rangy man in a black tuxedo and a newsboy cap.
What do you want? The woman screeches, peering the ragged boy.
I apologize ma’am, I’m in a predicament… money… I beg that-
The couple burst into laughter.
You lackadaisical boy! The man laughs.
Just get a job! The only reason you’re poor is because you’re lazy, son!
Can’t believe brats like him still exist. The woman adds. Where are the parents?
You shouldn’t have run away!
His eyes filled with tears, he darts. Spoiled! He screams within. Where were his parents? Where were his parents? A mental hospital and a boy left on the streets? Where were his parents?
They were and are the exact opposite of the couple: a dirt poor house, too weak to care for the needy, too poor to afford luxury, too poor to afford defense, and too ignorant to consider the life of their own son. Yet, they were sufficient in selling their son’s life for the wealth they wanted- only to end up with nothing more than before.
So this is what content feels like? He curses the man and woman for their attractiveness as he continues to run, losing himself with every step.
She lies on her bed, exhausted, reading to the boy as he gapes with admiration. She turns a page.
“Jacob loved pizza!” Maria cried. “If only he was here to experience the simple joys…”
The boy trips and falls inside the crowd of colossals. Pain deluges his knee. He weeps, unable to cope that they’re gone, gone. No one looks and no one acknowledges, like a bowl scattered in grains.They walk to their businesses- to the livelihoods they have. He stumbles with his grit and relieves a sigh. No one bats an eye.
If only I was ignorant.
She shuts her eyes and the boy disappears in a world of darkness,
A man from the alley races toward him. The boy runs. His shirt is caught; he’s lifted off of the earth. His back slams against the wall. A shock to the face; his nose bleeds. Squealing, he frantically looks around in search. The boy slams the man’s face with a tight fist then unleashes a kick to the gut. The man stumbles and smiles, unveiling a blade.
The boy glances to his right, where lifeless bodies of the unfortunate reside- the elderly, the weak, the poor.
His eyes widen, adrenaline pumping as he stares at the puddles of blood expanding…
You people are whores. The man shouts sincerely, raising the weapon, but too slowly as the boy grabs a sharp stick, turns a blind eye, and impales the hardy stick through the man’s temple.
Shock overwhelms him as he freezes; he has to move quickly. Blood drips. Drips. Drips…
He heaves his body behind a garbage bin, hands shaking, body uncooperating, and teeth chattering as his mind rolls in turmoil.
He falls down, exploding into tears and wails as agony erupts his body as if a firework igniting.
Yet his cries were lost in an ocean of noise. Lost forever, his livelihood is stripped away.
His childhood is stripped away- a memory of how his parents sold everything he himself ever had and desired their wealth. And, now, there is a new memory of a man in jewels, beating upon those who never was a threat to him, and who sold his soul for his own desire of accomplishment.
And yet, no one notices because they’re indifferent in the crowd of spurring life.
The elderly woman drifts to sleep within a dark, yet blissful room.
The boy drifts asleep within a dark hallway, and deep inside is a heart void of feeling.

Part III:
The polychrome fish streak across the water, hiding in the shelter of bright yellow coral- the same shelter their entire lives. Boulders dotted the scenery as seagrass erected from the seafloor.
A black shadow shields the woman from natural daylight. She looks up, observing a gray body swimming about. It is smooth and youthful. Its fins flap; its keen jaws threaten its prey. A glass casing guards her from the scene. A safe place to be, a place she’s been her entire life: a fish in a tank. This one room and this one place, not once escaping to experience the real world.
But she is at peace in discovering the nature around her. Colors, colors everywhere she’d look.
She would’ve been jumping for joy, but something hit her: she hadn’t cared anymore, not anything, just herself, but why? What did she want? She had tranquility. What more did she crave? But then, of course, she already knew.
His pilgrimage is complete.
He enters a vandalized glass entrance into an expansive lobby, scattered with wooden chairs and tables. The doddery people sit in white uniforms with shriveled skin, lifeless eyes, and emotionless expressions. Some are playing cards, some are conversing, and some are talking amongst themselves,
Some amble with canes, some roll in wheelchairs, and some are adjacent to machines. Some are shouting periodically, some are walking aimlessly, and some are dozed off. This was, and is, the only environment he felt he had a place in. Brick built the structure with hanging lamps illuminating the interior, and hallways branched from the main room, leading to separate rooms with glass windows.
It is definitely better than the wretched environment back at his old family.
The lobby supervisor gazes shockingly from the front desk window,
Are you okay sir? Do you need medical attention? She solemnly asks.
He shakes his head, and grins. The residents sneak a peak at him, then welcome him with beaming smiles. He had returned, and they knew it.
You’re here for her, aren’t you? The manager guesses with a smile, grabbing a napkin and wiping his face. The boy nods. His heart drops with every step- the culpability.
His fists clench, body showered in shame.
She drifts asleep in peace, surrounded by water. Ocean.
Bliss takes her by its claws, lifting her through the sea and into the heavens.
He couldn’t do it yet.
Lights turn off in the hallways, lit by moonlight from the skylight.
After wandering about the hallways, he sneaks into a closet, then returns to her room.
He drifts asleep outside a glass window, where he’ll hope to await her, for the last time.

Part IV:
Leaves glide, left to right, piling on the earth as spires of redwood that soar into the atmosphere with mist clouds beneath as if fog under a starry night. On the drab forest floor, eerie as the canopy of leaves dared Glory to trespass, she shivered in the howling wind. But, she was astonished to find the woods exanimate no more. Myriads of dwarf umbrellas danced in luminescence, glowing shades of rainbow. Body twirling like a spinning top, she dances too. She dances her heart away; her thoughts depart. Her desires obscure and her heart empty in inclination. But Glory is temporary, as her world soon is inundated in darkness.
Hand against the glass with a deadpan gaze. I couldn’t. Not like this. Her smile as she whirls at peace with her beating soul. He bows his head, tempted to pummel the glass, but that would take the last person he knew away, a person he knew yearned for something better her entire life.
She was maternal to him, and she knew, because she had experienced similarity.
But she couldn’t afford to lose him too. She had sacrificed everything, everything to try to build from her wretched life, and now here she is. This is her reward for all the struggles of her life, from a crippling house to a crippling house, from delight from birth to losing everything she had fought hard to keep. This is what her son thought she deserved, and this is what her son thought he deserved. All of this was an expense of exiting their life of poverty, one that was not successful.
What was the point?
He shuts his eyes, shallowly breathing as he stares at her face. Green eyed, glimmering lips, white hair to her shoulders, she steadily dances in an empty room. He couldn’t stand the sight. How she would feel, and yet she mourns him, but he couldn’t, not anymore.
He could sob, but his hands had ceased reacting, not since… The pain in reacting, knowing that imprisonment was simply the answer. He will soon be the fog in the starry night, the darkness, and she was oblivious of it. He was sorry for her and had always been; Glory stripped away.
The woman twirls and exclaims in joy, dismissing everything she had retained.
The boy wipes his tears, slides his hand down the glass, and absences. He just couldn’t.

Part V:
The woman goggles a blooming rose- petals delicate, revealing a canary center. It blossoms, but yet has she. She’d experience euphoria, the first time in decades, for something so real, yet so far.
To swim, to venture the forests, to free a kite, appreciate nature, dance in the wild, but all she could do was read, trapped in her own mind and physical prison. She slumped on her bed, stirring some milk and cereal.
The boy leaves through the glass doors, treading himself along. If there was any way…
His will was draining, and when it did, he’d be a soggy piece of grain.
She pounded on the door, calling for the manager for the medic. They had come, but denied her request to leave for the twenty-fifth time today. Venturous, imaginative, yet never given the chance. She could cry once more, but soon, she finds herself upon a mountain’s peak.
She smiles and jumps, heart taken away.
This is lovely!
On the streets, the boy frowns, touching a dangling pole with a jump, I’m sorry.

Part VI:
If only she could experience this with somebody, but they’re all gone, except for one. Hundreds of letters were piled upon her carriage, each read with serene and longing. She wrote back, for her journeys were extravagant: flying a kite, in an enchanting land of castles, and exploring the high seas, oh the stories she’d tell. He’d come, she assured. But when? He’d promised, he will.
It was only a matter of time. He is her grown Precious flying to the heavens.
A newspaper: Serial killer sought after murdering at least twenty-five people
Believed to be a child.
$1,000,000 given to information on the suspect.
Saddening, but he didn’t care, not anymore. He didn’t care for their lives; he’d care only for himself. Who cared what others thought? He’d ignore everything unless it affected him.
He knew his family was coming; he knew his parent’s desires. He would not let them have it; they don’t deserve anything for what they did to the two of them.
The people too are running and searching, but not for the killer. They are in search of the award. Now, they are attentive to their surroundings. He would not let them have it either.
Now, it was time. Rope in hand, wrapped around the pole,
A loop came next, wide, but adjustable with force.
She smiled, certain that her Precious was going to visit her.
She just knew it!
Oh the stories she’ll tell!
Then she finds herself in space, darkness with the light of Glory inside the Milky Way.
A man and a woman in dirty clothing from a chipping house lead officers around the city in search. They are certain they know the suspect, and money is on their minds. To their surprise, they halt at a crowd. An oblivious crowd no more, as they amass in disturbance.
Sirens blare in the background, growing near.
In the center a pair of feet, airborne.
Enduring flight of an eagle,
A Precious.
Yet still,
Devoid of movement.
Of life.
The woman beams.
He’ll come, and she’ll be complete, forever.
A bright smile, a Glorious one, a heart brimmed with equanimity,
A monitor rings, the people scamper briskly,
There, she’ll drift asleep,
And he’ll drift into the void.

“I submitted a painting. I’ve been interested in art for as long as I could remember. I would say the first form of artwork I created were the marks on my walls that still remain till’ this day. When I won, honestly I couldn’t believe it at first because I didn’t hear from Scholastic themselves until I checked the roster for silver key; I also didn’t know how these awards work due to this being my first time I submitted something. I triple checked to see if it was indeed my name, and not some other Bao. Once I finally registered that I received an award, I without hesitation told my mom because she is my #1 biggest fan.” Bao won a Scholastic Silver Art award.

Creating art comes to me as an expression to capture the comforting yet ever fleeting moments of people in my life; these transient memories are made perpetual and constant as the subjects of my artwork, and are carefully imbued with the same feelings of reminiscence that I would experience upon recollection through purposeful colors and meticulously crafted elements of design. Ideas come to me when I least expect them to, but they are always spurred by my passion to frame the moments of what it means to not simply exist in life, but to live in it. For example, while sitting down in the living room of my Ba Noi’s (grandmother) house, the scene in front of me would soon fade from being as time passes, but to make it eternal, I would sketch a drawing of my Ba Noi that would soon turn into a painting. The memory itself evokes solace, and I do my best to portray the feelings of home and warmth from my grandmother at that brief but cherished moment in time. I would say there are emotional bearings to my artwork, mainly because in a way, its an extension of myself and my psyche. Regardless of what the viewer sees and interprets from my work, only I truly know the meaning behind each brushstroke (whether it be a rageful one while I was trying to finish the piece at 1 am, or a more deliberate and thought out brushstrokes). 

I submitted a memoir called “A Glorious Fool” in the memoir/personal essay category. I have never thought of myself as someone who writes. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go into medicine and nothing else, so writing has never really been my interest so when Mrs. Bohenick told me one day during class that I had won an award I was shocked because I did not think that my piece was actually worth something; I only submitted it for the extra credit!” Sarah received a Scholastic Silver Writing Award.

The memoir I submitted came from a place of uncertainty. I have always been a shy person, at least in the eyes of strangers, and afraid of what others might think. The memoir I wrote came from a true experience of finding myself during a seemingly common outing: a trip to Costco. My memoir is very personal, especially the first paragraph. I recently re-wrote the intro to express how I have been feeling about my self-worth. The message is still, and will always be a emotional topic for me personally.

Looking in the mirror, my judgmental hands found inches of my body which they persisted to hide—squeezing and flattening all the imperfections until my hands became satisfied. Until eventually, they let go only to reveal the same image. Nothing changed. My body pertained the same shape as before.
Staring at my reflection, I felt ashamed. Ashamed, I could never look like one of the pretty people plastered on Vogue’s September magazine and embarrassed to go out in public looking how I look.
The nature of embarrassment is like a pimple of reluctant structure, constantly nagging the confidence of teens. Embarrassment induces the willingness to make one’s self fit into society’s broken mold. We need to break these stereotypes and live how we want to live and be who we want to be, not hide behind a façade of a ‘perfect person.’

I watch my dad pat down his worn-out jeans to find the familiar structure of his wallet. He pulls out the black plastic card just far enough, so the lady recognizes the Costco logo and waves us through.
My arms are crossed. I walked ahead, eyes piercing the exit sign, guarded by an ominous wall of boxes. I have always despised our Costco trips. In my opinion, Costco is a rip-off. I mean, when is the last time you have spent under one hundred dollars at Costco? Exactly. Never.
After a good 20 minutes of walking throughout the stuffy warehouse surrounded by middle-aged adults tasting the food samples, I had had enough. I was ready to leave, but my trip was not over. Not even close. I still needed to find my parents, and that was an adventure in itself.
Assuming they were still aimlessly shopping towards the entrance, my feet reluctantly started to backtrack. Spotting the three imbeciles, my head made its often motion of moving side to side in anger. My family meticulously walked up and down, up and down, each aisle. I could feel my face start to boil. The 17-year-old man child that was my brother pushed the cart at what seemed like half a mile per hour.
Years had gone by before we finally reached the back section. Despite my dad’s noticeable irritation towards me, I went on, arms crossed. My Nike sneakers grazed the floor as if my legs could not stand the movement of walking. While my dad began to mold his face into the recognizable expression of annoyance, I sensed his anger was a robust, ever-present bear, ready to attack. He was vexed because after all he does for me, after all my parents do for me, I can’t let them do what they love: spend 5 hours at Costco. I knew I was starting to cross the line. Less than a minute later, I witnessed my dad blow up in the middle of a Costco wholesale. He had every right to.
We were in the bakery section; the sweet aroma of the fresh-baked muffins perfumed the air. “Why are you acting like this?” My dad started. “Why are you in such a bad mood?”
I sensed the sharp eyes of the watching bystanders punctuate my back. Embarrassed, I looked around to see what felt like one-hundred people staring. I saw a woman cautiously placing a box of croissants in her cart. A man and his child averting their eyes from the scene. I looked back at my dad. He knew. He knew that I was embarrassed I was getting yelled at in public, but he also knew I deserved it.
“Why are you so embarrassed? Huh? It’s not like you’ll ever see them again.”
Although it was an abnormal time to learn a life-changing lesson, those words perplexed me. They spoke to me in a way I’ll never forget. They made me realize how foolish I had been when I didn’t want to go out because of my figure or act like an actual teenager, unfazed by the plausible embarrassment of being authentic.
Until that moment, I felt the pressure of being a straight-A student who plays scenarios in her head and meticulously over-thinks life. Before then, I had been so afraid to stand out and make a fool of myself in public because, somehow, it would affect the way people thought of me. I had been afraid to be perceived as naive that I had begun to act childish.
When I looked back into my father’s disappointed eyes, I urgently begged for forgiveness. He understood, and we went on with our shopping. However, despite my epiphany, I still remember being afraid to make eye contact with the bystanders. I realize now that those five or six people are only a minuscule fraction of the world’s population. Why fear their judgment?
Laying quietly in my bed that night, I realized that my lack of foolishness made me a fool. The red, hot embarrassment that filtered my emotions was controlling my actions. Not doing something because it may seem eccentric is foolish. Not enjoying the one life you have on this planet is foolish. After that moment, I promised myself TO be foolish, no matter the scene, and live life with joy, not sorrow.
Ed Helms, the actor and comedian who played Andy Bernard on the Office spoke at Cornell’s class of 2014 graduation weekend. Ed’s speech is one that I will never forget. He told the graduating class to be “glorious and wonderful fools” and to take risks. Ed’s speech brought to light how I became a fool when I was afraid to be myself and make mistakes. That night I decided to move on with my life and not grieve on the experiences I had missed or the laughter that I was too scared to be a part of. Instead, I looked at future experiences differently by taking foolishness by the hand and walking with it, never letting go.

“I submitted a lot of writing pieces, including science fiction & fantasy, a dramatic script, and flash fiction. I’ve always been writing in the sense that we’ve learned writing in school, but I started writing in my free time in 9th grade. I didn’t really have any intense reactions after receiving the award because I’ve gotten them in the past, but it’s still nice.” Jessica won 2 Scholastic Gold Writing Awards and 2 Honorable Mentions for her writing.

I don’t really have a specific inspiration for the pieces. I have a note in the notes app of my phone where I just write any story ideas that I have. I think that my strongest piece is science fiction story about a world where superheroes are contributing to ecological disasters. There are definitely pieces that include parts of myself, whether it be my personality or causes that I care about. Not everything I write has a lot of emotional bearing though. Sometimes I think it’s just a cool idea and I want to write about it.

“I submitted a photography portfolio. People often criticize photography by saying it requires no technical skill, and that the camera does all the work. Possibly as an unconscious response to this, I have always had an interest in, and recently began a strong focus on creating abstract materials and find an extra fulfillment in doing so with mundane items. I applied these principles to the portfolio I submitted to Scholastic. I first picked up a camera a few months into 9th grade and have been taking photos ever since. The time between me submitting the portfolio and getting the results was a particularly chaotic period of my life, so to be honest I had mostly forgotten about it and didn’t even know that they had been released until a day or two after. Of course, I was really excited to see that I had been recognized for my photography, but for the most part life just went on, though I did by myself and my family a box of cupcakes on my way home that day.” Kaan won 2 Silver Scholastic Art Awards.

“I have always had an interest in, and recently began a strong focus on creating abstract materials and find an extra fulfillment in doing so with mundane items. I consider my strongest piece to be “Cosmos in Pyrex,” where I used water, olive oil, food coloring, and a really bright light to create an image that looks like it could have come from outer space. I think it really exemplifies the abstraction I designed the portfolio around.”

Honorable mentions go to sophomore Selin Atakan, juniors Joy Deng, Annie Li, and seniors Humza Hanif, Anirudh Karunakaran and Kaan Yilmaz in the art category. Honorable mentions also go to sophomore Ellis Choi, juniors Olivia Akonzee, Hagar Cohen, Mia Gonzalez, Ayushi Mohanty and seniors Shriya Bengre, Naomi Canny, Brooke J Ferrell, Shree Kamani, Jessica Lin, Kechi Mbah, and Xen Villarreal.