Osa Iyoha ’22
The Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards is a platform for young students to gain recognition for their creative works. Students can submit their pieces and receive regional and national credit, whether for a painting or short story. Mercersburg Academy students have been submitting art to Scholastic with the help of Michelle Poacelli, Sydney Caretti, and Kristen Pixler for many years. This year, fourteen Mercersburg students were recognized for their artwork at the South Central Pennsylvania regional level.
Honorable mention went to Ivy Chan ’24, Gigi Devlin ’24, Clare Ip ’23, Qunicy Qu ’25, Ruby Shang ’24, and Holden Walker ’23. Silver key awards went to Justin An ’23, Joyce Cui ’22, Mel Cort ’23, Isonah Dlodlo ’23, and Avo Reid ’22. Golden Key recognitions went to Shin Miyamichi ’22, Jasmine Zhu ’23, Eric Yoo ’24, and Cort, Dlodlo, and Reid. Golden key award winners automatically get considered for awards at the next level – the national level.
Teachers across the region review anonymous submissions to determine the award level for each piece. Michelle Poacelli says, “I’m a judge for the South Central Pennsylvania region, but on the rare occasion that I come across a Mercersburg student’s work (it’s happened only twice in 5 years), I recuse myself from judging it. Over winter break, I read and rate the stack of submissions sent to me electronically. I’ve judged multiple genres, including poetry, short fiction, and critical essays. The submissions are always interesting to read.”
Reid and Miyamichi were named American Voice and American Vision Nominees, the highest recognition possible at the regional level. Reid earned the American Voice nomination for his personal essay and memoir category submission “Church, Art, and Choice.” Shin Miyamichi received the American Vision nomination for his painting entitled “TEENAGE 10+8”. Reid spoke on the meaning of the prestigious award: “These awards mean that people other than my mom and my girlfriend like my writing.”
Since this round of awards extended only to the regional level, students are looking forward to the national results, hoping to see their peers succeed at such a high level. Zhu reflected, “I adore fluid words, sounds, and images, and as they scatter about among my life, delight to pick them up as my whim guides me. I admire the inspirations of artists, but I never thought I could “create art,” so to speak, by my own perception which I see as merely random and impromptu. The little art award is a blessing. It assures my heart, at the same time eager and insecure to express, that what I have to say is delivered across. And I carry away from it the strength and faith, apart from cherishing my own spontaneity, to patiently build a technical foundation so that I may sing freer songs.”