Two Rye Neck High School students have been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Sophomore Claire Julian was awarded the silver key, and junior Almila Arda received an honorable mention.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Two Rye Neck High School students have been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Sophomore Claire Julian was awarded the silver key, and junior Almila Arda received an honorable mention. In distinguished company, the students join writers including Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, and Joyce Carol Oates, whom the Awards identified as gifted early on.
Faculty sponsorship is a criterion. In Arda’s case, it was Enrichment Coordinator/Counseling and Guidance Co-Director Valerie Feit, who became familiar with her writing through the District’s Independent Learner program. Julian was sponsored by her ninth-grade English teacher, Mary Lanza, who has been teaching freshman English, along with creative writing and journalism, at Rye Neck for a decade.
“This competition builds confidence,” said Lanza. “Students get the ultimate validation and are inspired to write further and continue to develop their craft.”
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards has recognized and celebrated the creative talents of the nation’s youth since 1923. Teens in grades 7 through 12 apply in 28 categories of art and writing. Each year, more and more young artists, writers, filmmakers, photographers, and sculptors participate. Over 255,000 students submitted original works this year.
Julian submitted a short story called “Angel”, about a young adult battling mental illness and drug addiction. “I wrote it from her perspective. I’m attracted to concepts that are unfamiliar to me,” said the avid writer, who is currently putting the finishing touches on a book. “I like to portray the darker aspects of things that I don’t actually experience.”
Arda submitted a four-page poem,which germinated from an idea she jotted down when she was a freshman. The concept of being on this earth for a short period of time intrigued her. “We have to accept that everything is temporary; there’s no such thing as permanence,” she noted.
The aspiring writers will be among 600 students presented with awards at Manhattanville College on March 15.