The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recognizes outstanding works by high school students on a regional and national level. Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships.Six Hill School students were recognized for their work in writing in the Philadelphia Regional Scholastic Art & Writing contest this year. Those students are Reed Bauer ‘18, Alice Nguyen ‘18, Gene Chung ‘19, Tiantian Fang ‘19, Gray Pham ‘19, and Rachel Liu ‘20.
“Philadelphia region includes five counties around the city,” Mark Pearson, director of the writing center, said. “They are impressive awards to be recognized, considering the number of top private and public schools within the region.”
Nguyen is glad that the works that received recognitions are also her personal favorite ones. Nguyen received two Gold Keys, one Silver Key in writing, and one Silver Key in art. She also received an American Voices nomination, which is the highest regional honor from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
“I submitted a portfolio with the poetry and personal essays I wrote over the past year regarding my experience of being Vietnamese [living] under different cultures,” Nguyen said.
One of her pieces, which received the American Voices nomination, tells a sentimental story of finding out the traits that Nguyen shares with her mom, despite the little similarity they share otherwise.
“From Humanities class we learned that, there are two types of writing that capture readers’ eyes: the ones that surprise the readers and the ones that connect with the readers,” Nguyen said. “I’m not quite sure why my piece got selected, perhaps one of the two things happened when someone was reading through the lines.”
Pham won a Silver Key award for “Sun and Moon” in the Science fiction/Fantasy category. The piece tells a tragic story of two lesbian-lovers being transformed into the sun and the moon by a hunter so that they are separated from each other. At the end, the moon curses the descendants of the hunter to make them experience the pain she is going through. These descendants become the vampires who can’t go out during daytime, just like the moon.
“The story combines many inspirations that I collected from daily life,” Pham said.
Pham wanted to give depth and character to the story by adding different elements.
“I think science fiction uses human imagination to create these, almost crazy, plot settings,” Pham said. “But in the end, just like my story, it’s still about love, and it’s alright – nothing to be scared of.”
Four Hill School students were also recognized for their work in art in the Philadelphia Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These students are Caroline Lee ‘18, Izzy Lux ‘18, Alice Nguyen ‘18, and Jingyu Cai ‘19.
Nguyen’s photography work “Talkative,” which received a Silver Key, is a silent protest against excessive words and false information used on women. Her photography work “Flower-faced,” which received an Honorable Mention, questions how the definition of beauty becomes an ambiguous representation of women.
The students who received Gold Keys are automatically qualified for national competition. The national awards will be announced in March.