Six Ways of Looking at a Pepper

Posted April 4, 2018 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Poem of the Day, Student Writing.

 

I. I, the youngest jalapeño in the Godinich Garden, have seen exactly 70,562,712 dewdrops topple off my olive green leaves.

II. My predators above wait till my body is ripe enough to harvest and consume me for supper.

III. My leaves will shrivel to show I’m declining. A nip in the air shows no water, not even the freezing water the puffs in the air give.

IV. Daisies: good to see ya, rain has come and green peppers are sprouting on my bush.

V. When the sun heats up I tell a joke to Broccoli, my neighbor bush: “What do you do when you get angry? You wish rain would pour to cool your heat!”

VI. Hi, mouth. My name is now “Sausage Noodles with Jalapeños.”

By Julia, 3rd grade

Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on KPFT 90.1 by Tori, WITS Youth Advisory Council Student. The background music is “Sneaky Snitch” by Kevin MacLeod. incompetech.comProduced by Susan Phillips.

Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Copy.com, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and KPFT 90.1.

 

Strange Place

Posted April 3, 2018 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Poem of the Day, Student Writing.

 

As vast sunbirds burn,
Mother Violin maps her lines.
The bizarre, dramatic, air-dive
changes my life, as design eyes
paint vivid pictures in my mind.
What a strange world.
What a strange world.
Invisible toes skip,
and waves follow them, too.
Hair waltz,
snow waltz,
Strange.
Breathtaking, fuzzy animals hike.
They hug, and kiss, live in autumn.
And luxurious, fragile, forests
Shimmer
Strange chocolate stars,
Strange, strange world.

By Isom, 3rd grade

Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on KPFT 90.1 by Ella, WITS Youth Advisory Council Student. The background music is “Port Horizon” by Kevin MacLeod, incompetech.comProduced by Susan Phillips.

Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Copy.com, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and KPFT 90.1.

 

Deeply Rooted

Posted April 2, 2018 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Poem of the Day, Student Writing.

I am seed
I am small, but powerful
I am born of fire & water
of desert & ocean
of la tierra de los Aztecas y la jungla de Veraguas
Of parents with humble beginnings to give me
a beginning better than theirs
I am a tree trunk foundation
My foundation is divine, residing in God’s hands in heaven
and built on my mother’s passion & my father’s song
Music runs through my veins.
My crown is full of thoughts, hopes, & dreams
It has the memories of all the family I’ve had
Full of songs to be sung & dreams to be made
Full of light that reaches out to the universe
I am a majestic tree
My roots are Adonis, Flor, my grandparents, my aunts & uncles
They are as deep as the ocean, as high as the mountains
I am deeply rooted in my faith, my culture, mi gente, & my music
Nothing can uproot me

By Angela, 12th grade

Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on KPFT 90.1 by Jackson, WITS Youth Advisory Council Student. The background music is “Origins” by Ketsa freemusicarchives.orgProduced by Susan Phillips.

Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Copy.com, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and KPFT 90.1.

 

2018 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program

Posted March 28, 2018 & filed under Contest, Event, News, Notebook, Student Writing.

A perfect opportunity for high school students to work one-on-one with a professional writer! Deadline to apply is May 1st.

Now in its sixth year, The Adroit Journal’s Summer Mentorship Program is an entirely free and online program that pairs experienced writers with high school and secondary students (as of the current academic year) interested in learning more about the creative writing processes of drafting, redrafting and editing. The 2018 program will cater to the literary genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The aim of the mentorship program is not formalized instruction, but rather an individualized, flexible, and often informal correspondence. Poetry mentorship students will share weekly work with mentors and peers, while prose mentorship students will share biweekly work with mentors and peers.

We are very proud of our alumni. Students have subsequently been recognized through the National YoungArts Foundation & United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts designation, the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and the Foyle Young Poet of the Year Awards, among a plethora of others.

The 2018 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program will last from June 24th until August 4th. Applications for the 2018 Summer Mentorship Program will be open until May 1st.

Learn more about the Adriot Journal Summer Mentorship Program here.

Apply to the Adriot Journal Summer Mentorship Program here.

WITS Alliance Goes to Tampa

Posted March 19, 2018 & filed under Event, News, Notebook, WITS People.

Each year, the WITS Alliance travels to a different city to highlight the importance of creative writing in the classroom and in civic life at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, a gathering of over 12,000 literary professionals. From March 7 – 10, the WITS Alliance sponsored six panels, one meeting, and a booth to build opportunities for writers to find support, discover resources, and foster community.

Here are a few highlights from the conference:

Executive Director, Robin Reagler, closing out the AWP Gala, where poet Erin Belieu was presented with the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature.

“The work that I do at the Dodge Poetry Festival is to try to create environments where people can engage with poetry through a personal connection with no judgment.” – Martin Farawell

Moderator Meggie Monahan from Writers in the School Houston leading a conversation on “Poetry in Public Places” with Scott Cunningham of O, Miami Festival, Martin Farawell of Dodge Poetry Fesival, Laurin Macios of Mass Poetry, and Tyler Meier of the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

“I’m happy when people are reading poetry because it is a form of resistance.” – Kaveh Akbar

Moderator Analicia Sotelo of Writers in the Schools Houston with “Literary Twitterati” panelists Kaveh Akbar, Eve Ewing, Dorothea Lasky of Astro Poets, alongside WITS Executive Director, Robin Reagler.

“It’s important to be vulnerable, to remind students that we should be playful and silly.” – Karyna McGlynn

Moderate Jack McBride from Writers in the Schools Houston alongside current and former WITS writers, Ramon Isao, Nicky Beer, Karyna McGlynn, and Niki Herd at the “WITS Alumni Reading: The Unfiltered Imagination” panel. Each speaker shared student work, read from their own writing, and offered funny and thoughtful stories about being in the classroom and how teaching young students brings playfulness into their own work.

“Most people prefer a linear path. I firmly believe that if you see your career as an exploration, you really get a great opportunity to craft your own narrative, even if it’s not the one you imagined.”  – Giuseppe Taurino

Led by Community-Word Project’s Michele Kolter, panelists Thomas Calder (journalist at Mountain Xpress), Martin Rock (Associate Director at Exploratorium), Giuseppe Taurino (Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston), and Abby Travis (Editor at Milkweed Editions) discussed their journeys to their current jobs with helpful tips and thoughtful stories at the “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” panel.

“Have a plan and surround yourself with people that see your dream.” – Kima Jones

Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Alicia Craven discussed diversity, inclusion and changing the literary landscape with “Small Experiments with Radical Intent” panelists Janine Joseph of UndocuPoets, Kima Jones of Jack Jones Literary Agency, Ramiza Koya of Literary Arts, and Desiree Dallagiacomo of Forward Arts in Baton Rouge.

“I find empathy to be infectious, and it’s amazing to see how much people in your own community can accomplish. Your community is your greatest resource.” – Erin Belieu

Britt Udesen (Executive Director of The Loft Literary Center), Amalia Kruszel (Arts Action Fund Program Manager at Americans for the Arts), moderator Tina Cane (Executive Director of Writers-in-the-Schools, Rhode Island and Rhode Island Poet Laureate), Erin Belieu (co-founder of VIDA and Writers Resist), and Diane Luby Lane (Executive Director of Get Lit) revealed their thoughts on literary activism, social change, and community building at our “Loud Because We Have to Be” panel.

Robin Reagler helped close out the conference by introducing Jen Benka at the Academy of American Poets event featuring Layli Long Soldier, Khaled Mattawa, and Mark Doty.

Our WITS booth is where we talked with emerging writers and educators about the alliance.  WITS Houston writers Paige Quinones and Dan Chu discuss opportunities for writers to engage with their community through Writers in the School programs.

Our booth was a popular space! We held daily raffles and gave away swag. Poet Danez Smith gets a “Because Writing is Revolutionary” temporary tattoo from Mohamed Sheriff.

Cultivating relationships with writers at AWP is essential to ensuring that we continue to place writers in the classroom and work toward our mission of giving every child the opportunity to tell their story.

The Standard is You: Lessons from World-Renowned Writer Chinaka Hodge

Posted February 8, 2018 & filed under Notebook.

On Saturday, February 3rd, students from around the Greater Houston area streamed into Queensbury Theatre to learn from poet, playwright, and screenwriter, Chinaka Hodge, during a free youth workshop hosted by Writers in the Schools and Meta-Four Houston. The author of three books, including the 2016 collection of poetry, Dated Emcees, Chinaka’s poems, editorials, interviews and prose have been featured in Newsweek, Poetry Magazine, PBS, NPR, Teen People, CNN, TED, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry.

Chinaka started the workshop by recounting her journey as a writer: from a thirteen-year-old girl from the Bay Area to working in the writer’s room for the upcoming NBC series, Rise, which premieres March 13. But before she arrived in Hollywood, she started writing and performing slam as a teenager. Her long-career as a professional writer has taught her four things:

  1. There are no wrong answers.
  2. The standard is you.
  3. Write in any language you want.
  4. Have fun.

Then Chinaka led a one-of-a-kind slam workshop that pulled from both her experience as a slam poet and as a screenwriter. Students worked intensively as they generated a logline and treatment for a script that could serve as the foundation of a poem, essay, or rap. By combining slam and screenwriting, students learned two central tools to storytelling: how to articulate a character’s desires and how to create tension by developing obstacles. Chinaka shared that she applies these narrative tools in all her writing. For example, in her essays, she utilizes a three act structure. In slam poetry, the poem usually ends at the climax, when the audience discovers whether or not the performer gets what he or she desires. Learning and understanding the structure of storytelling has been critical in her success. As the workshop neared its end, she reminded students of the key advice she carries with her—the standard for your writing is you, so keep telling stories only you can tell.

Spend Saturday mornings with WITS at Discovery Green!

Posted January 19, 2018 & filed under Event, free Houston event, Notebook, Student Writing, WITS People.

With fun and interactive writing activities to spark the imagination, the Young Writers Workshop helps children develop their language and creativity skills. Each workshop features two WITS writers. Each participant receives one-on-one interaction and feedback.

Held Saturdays at the Houston Public Library Express location at Discovery Green from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM, the workshop is FREE. Space is first-come, first serve and limited to the first 25 students.

 

Meet the WITS Writers

 

Dottie Price taught for more than thirty years and was a literacy coach in the Houston Independent School District. She is ESL and GT certified, with extensive training and experience in writers and readers workshop and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Dottie created the Elders Songwriting Project, a 20- year collaboration between elementary school students and retirement home residents in which students have written 246 tribute songs for Elder interviewees. She enjoys writing songs, as well as articles that share stories and ideas from the classroom and beyond.

 

James Hershberger is an award-winning writer, comedian, musician, slam poet, and actor. He graduated with honors from Texas Tech University with degrees in Creative Writing and Political Science. He has performed live all over the U.S. as well as in Europe and Asia. In 2013, he was a member of the Houston V.I.P. Slam Team, winning 2nd place in Group Piece Finals at the National Poetry Slam in Boston. James is a volunteer teacher of a weekly creative writing workshop for the homeless.

 

K.C. Sinclair is a fellow in Fiction and Screenwriting at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. Her short works have appeared in the Texas Observer and the New Guard Literary Journal. She has been a finalist for the Master’s Review New Writers’ Competition, the Glimmer Train New Fiction Prize, and New Letter’s Short Story Award. Before her MFA, she was an elementary school teacher and vice principal for ten years. She left that beloved career to pursue a lifelong dream to write. Now, she lives in a Mont Belvieu with her husband, adorable dog, and self-absorbed kitty, and is working on a novel set in Houston about a group of four friends who have dreams of becoming astronauts. K.C. also teaches writing at Lee College in Baytown.

Texas Studio: Elizabeth Keel

Posted January 16, 2018 & filed under Classroom Reflections, Notebook, WITS People.

 

 

Elizabeth Keel. Photo by Natasha Nivan.

Congratulations to Writers in the Schools writer, Elizabeth Keel, for her feature in Arts & Culture Magazine. She talks acting, directing, grad school and why she loves teaching with WITS!

 

“Nobody’s worried about grades. Instead, we give the kids the time they need to interact with language and build their confidence. It is so important to me that my students see that it is safe and feasible to make changes.”

Check out the full article here >>

 

 

Fire

Posted January 5, 2018 & filed under Notebook, Public Poetry, Student Writing.

I am fire in the wind.

One little spark can ignite the entire world.

The air crisp and smokey,

the fire big and beautiful.

I am that wildfire,

spreading like gossip in teen girls’ hands.

My ways of life are dangerous; I lunge from tree to tree,

It takes 1,000,000 people to slow down my fiery reign of terror.

The outcome of my worldwide scare is poor.

I leave people with almost nothing to live on.

But with pain

comes beauty,

and I watch as friends and family, mountains and trees

gather together

to build the world up again.

I am not all bad

for my flames create opportunities

to get stronger, more powerful.

I can transform the weakest squirrel into the strongest lion.

When my destruction ends, I am exhausted.

I tell myself that my wildfire is a warning.

My silent, screaming message: stay alert.

Another fire is coming.

I am the fire in the wind, ready to ignite.

 

By Irene, 6th grade

 

>> Join us for Public Poetry this Saturday, January 6th, 2 pm at the Jungman Branch (5830 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77057) of the Houston Public Library. WITS student, Irene, will be reading alongside Robin Reagler, Corinna Delgado, Amanda Ortiz, and Miranda Mahoney. This event is FREE and open to the public. <<

Original post: 10/15/2017

 

Christmas Tree Tradition

Posted December 29, 2017 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

 

The tree,

Alone,

Standing in the corner

The middle of May

Five months past

Christmas

Me

My sister

Begging for the tree to stay

A bit more

 

It looks so graceful.

It almost feels as if

The tree

My family

We’re all glowing

A deep soft warm

Yellow shimmer

In the spirit of Christmas,

Of all the holidays.

 

So now in the Kim family

It’s a tradition to

Keep the shimmering

Holiday

Spiritful tree

Until March

Or May

To keep the taste of

Christmas cookies

For the pine scent

To linger in the air

With us.

 

by Gayeon, age 10

Found

Posted December 22, 2017 & filed under mentor text, Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

 

A nine-year old girl

Face light and smiling

Yet a line of regret on her face

Rushing to hug her mommy

Laughing and laughing and laughing

Because she is so relieved

In the bright and beautiful

shine of the sun

A mother asking, shouting,

“Where have you been?”

In the familiar light

Of her home.

 

by Jiho, age 9

A Life Filled with Tenderness

Posted December 18, 2017 & filed under Notebook, WITS People.

Dear friends,

What does it mean to live a life “filled with tenderness”? Is it opening a door for a stranger, sharing lunch, lighting a candle?

These grey winter days can feel overwhelming, as though we are being asked to do more than is humanly possible. And yet….

And yet I remember the days in Houston following the hurricane more clearly than yesterday. There was no time to ask why. We put aside our “to do” lists and did for our friends and neighbors what needed to be done.

At WITS we gathered at the convention center, where 10,000 evacuees waited for aid, and we connected with kids by reading, writing, and really listening to them. We used what gifts we had to help people begin to heal.

Here in Houston, everyone was giving. Friends and colleagues across the nation did whatever they could. Soon we were all wrapped up in the generosity surrounding us. It was as though our city became a WE in a powerful moment, linked together by an extreme need.

Today Houston continues to rebuild. WITS is providing creative writing programs for 52,000 children, including those in schools that were displaced by Harvey. A WITS education will feed these students’ curiosity, creativity, and desire to become active, articulate citizens. Please let us know if you can help us make a lifelong difference for these resilient kids.

All my best,

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Reagler, PhD
Executive Director

Ekphrasis

Posted December 14, 2017 & filed under Notebook, Student Writing.

Run. Run and hide from the world and reality. Run until you are free of this world, of this place of laws and truths. Run until you find a place where anything could happen: the Narnia in your closet. Escape from judgement and the restrictions that come with it.

Embrace the darkness, the morbidity. Let the shadows spill over the wet, black earth. Allow the wolves inside and let them rip up the house. Let the child run away, and then what? What next? Well, that’s your choice. My choice. Anyone’s choice.

Never lose hope. The sun always comes up, until it doesn’t. The world spins until it doesn’t exist.

No judgement, no limits. Not once the writing starts.

 

by Carson, 8th grade

On This Porch

Posted December 12, 2017 & filed under Lesson Plan, Notebook, Student Writing.

 

On my parents’ porch, I feel a gust of air as I walk out the screen door. Am I hot? Am I cold? No. I am just right.  But even here, there’s a twisted feeling in my gut, my long lost dog sits in ashes on the top shelf of my parents’ desk. The screen door separates me from the air conditioning and the wild weather.

 

I rest my arms and elbows on the eleven-year-old railing and look down at the ditch under our driveway.  I used to catch tadpoles there.  On this porch I hear the waves beating on each other, the waves I body surfed on all afternoon.  My childhood flashes before me. Blink! All the memories of my siblings, preschool, my friends and cousins.

 

I look behind and see the little gray table with the tall chairs where my parents come to talk. I could sit on this porch for the rest of my life, listening to the waves.  I feel at peace thinking of my first friend, my dog, my childhood, what I felt as a baby.

 

All the responsibilities which I have now will only increase in high school, college, and adulthood. I feel all my life again and again in a matter of seconds, though I have had ten long years on earth.

 

I may not be old, but I have seen more than I think is humanly possibly.  On this porch I am all I’ve been, all at the same time, even in my dreams.  It is nothing but a miracle.

 

by Ryan, 4th grade

Playground

Posted November 27, 2017 & filed under mentor text, Notebook, Student Writing.

The trees sway in the wind, dancing upon our eyes. The joy-filled kids swarm past us like a flock of angry geese. The mud bestows heavy layers of stains at the tips of my shoes, leaving them with a brown bumpy concoction. The blades of grass at my feet tickle my toes, while the mulch does its job and makes the grass disappear. The fresh air roars through my skin, making its way into the roots of my hair. The sweat forms on my skin like rain in a thunderstorm, the warmth of the sun works its way down to the tips of my toes, to the roots of my fingernails. The pasty wind runs through my nostrils, leaving me with a sudden surge of cold. The creaks of the monkey bars crack through my ears, as love-filled kids rock upon them. The shrieks of laughter reach my ears like a mighty roar of thunder. The teachers happily talk to one another as if just meeting an old friend. The birds chirp above us sitting on trees stuffed to the brim with leaves. The playground is a place that makes any visitor feel free.

By Ella, 4th grade

A Travel Guide to My Heart

Posted November 20, 2017 & filed under Notebook, Poem.

 

Welcome to hot, humid Houston. If you travel northeast, you might find a place I love most: my home. You can take a right and find a wonderful white house. It’s so special with my mom, dad, my 5-year old brother, Sam, my 8-day old baby brother, Shepard and my two dogs, Gus and Zeus. Also, two beautiful fish used to live there, but they died.

Come with me and travel west. You’ll find my most beloved grandmother and grandfather. You’ll find them in a red brick house. Please travel east. A candy shop awaits! I could eat all the candy. If I could, I would spend tons and tons of hours eating chocolate. Come up North, flying high in the sky. See clouds as you pass by. Then you’ll see a paradise where you can relax. I will play in the pool all day long. It is a place I call Florida.

by Nellie, 1st grade

How The Leech Family Invigorates the Arts in Houston

Posted November 2, 2017 & filed under Notebook.

The ninth annual WITS gala, Many Voices | One Houston, is coming up soon—November 9 at the Astorian. (Tickets and tables are still available.) As we anticipate this celebration of Houston’s resilient voices, we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the accomplishments of this year’s gala honorees, The Leech Family.

 

The Leech Family has been dedicated to making art, music, and writing available to everyone. Perryn Leech serves as Managing Director for the Houston Grand Opera. Together with WITS, the HGO continually showcases Houston voices in a variety of forms including poetry, opera, and spoken word. After Harvey hit and floodwaters rose, the HGO was forced to temporarily close its doors. But, as Perryn Leech said in an interview with The New York Times after the storm, “Houstonians are robust. We’ll come up with something that gives them an opera season.” Before long, the HGO managed to continue its season at the George R. Brown Convention Center, dubbing the repurposed space “The Resilience Theater.” The show must go on.

 

The inspiring works of The Leech Family don’t stop there. Caroline Leech is an author whose YA debut, Wait For Me, was published by Harper Teen earlier this year. Her second novel, In Another Time, will be out next spring. (Read an interview with her here). The Leech children are also artistic forces: Jemma, Kirsty, and Rory are high school students at Lamar HS and HSPVA, and have been WITS students for more than a decade. The oldest, Jemma, is an award-winning poet and essayist who has garnered national attention. “Poetry fills my soul with delightful hues of life’s momentary escapes into bliss, and torment,” Jemma said. “Language is my paint and my keyboard is my brush.” She is living proof of the healing power of poetry and storytelling.

 

Gala attendees will be treated to a moving performance of “The Jemma Songs” by the Greenbriar Consortium quartet, featuring Julia Fox, soprano (Houston Grand Opera); Anne Leek, oboe (Houston Symphony); Daniel Strba, viola (Houston Symphony); and Paul Boyd, piano (Foundation for Modern Music). The performance will include poems written by the honoree, Jemma Leech, beautifully set to music by Houston composer, Mary Carol Warwick.

 

Together, the Leech family passionately promotes the artistic power of the written word. Their efforts to preserve the arts in Houston are inspiring to us all. Please join us in honoring them at the Many Voices | One Houston gala November 9, an evening where we’ll come together as a city and a writing community to celebrate the resilient spirit of Houston.

Inprint’s Cool Brains! Presents Newbury-Winner Katherine Paterson

Posted October 31, 2017 & filed under Notebook.

Great news for readers both young and young at heart: As part of its Cool Brains! Reading series, Inprint presents an afternoon with Katherine Paterson, two-time winner of the Newbury Medal and the National Book Award. Paterson will give a presentation about her new middle grade novel, My Brigadista Year at Meyerland Performing & Visual Arts Middle School on Sunday, November 12 at 3pm. A Q&A will follow the talk, as well as a book sale and signing.

 

A beloved and bestselling middle grade author, Paterson is best known for Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins. Both novels have been adapted into movies within the last decade and remain celebrated parts of many school-reading programs. Paterson’s new novel, My Brigadista Year, tracks the efforts of the brigadistas, a group of mostly young women who sought to eradicate illiteracy in Cuba. Any WITS supporter will recognize the brigadista campaign as a worthy cause.

 

About the novel, Publishers Weekly says, “Through Lora’s naïve but openhearted perspective, Paterson weaves in details about Cuban history and the events that led to the overthrow of the Batista regime and the rise of Communism… Paterson’s story is without political agenda, focusing instead on an improbable (and successful) literacy campaign and how it dramatically expands the world of one sheltered but determined girl.”

 

WITS extends an invite to fans and families to come meet a living literary legend! This even is free an open to the public. Doors open at 2:15pm. For more information, visit Inprint.

 

*Please note that the book signing will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon entering the theater, people wishing to have books signed will be given a number, and the book signing will take place in numerical order after the on-stage presentation.

Call for Submissions: The 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Posted October 25, 2017 & filed under Notebook.

Here’s a great opportunity for young writers and artists to get recognition for their hard work. The 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are open for submissions from all students in grades 7–12. All middle and high school students are invited to submit original writing and works of art and writing in 29 categories of visual and literary art, including essays, drama, fiction, humor, journalism, poetry, and more. All submissions are blindly judged based on: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a persona, vision, or voice.

Teen poets whose work receives a Gold Medal have the opportunity to receive scholarships and awards, to be published, and to be selected as National Student Poets, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work, selected by the U.S. Poet Laureate and other amazing jurors. Graduating seniors may submit Portfolios.

Scholastic Awards recipients earn opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. In 2017, the Scholastic Awards distributed more than $250,000 in direct scholarships and more than $5 million in scholarships was offered to Scholastic Awards participants by colleges and universities across the country. Visit artandwriting.org/how-to-enter to learn more about the submission process.

Submission deadlines vary by region. The Harris County submission deadline is Monday, December 4, 2017. Visit artandwriting.org to create your profile.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. The early promise of some of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders has been identified through the Awards, such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Charles White, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath, Kay WalkingStick, Luis Jiménez, Ken Burns, Stephen King, Lena Dunham, Richard Linklater, and Zac Posen. Will you be next? Submit your work and find out!

Questions? Contact info@artandwriting.org.

Nadiyah’s Island of Cats

Posted October 20, 2017 & filed under Fiction, Notebook, Student Writing.

If I had my very own island, it would be near Hawaii. What makes my island special is the fact that it has all the cats in the world. My mom, sister, grandparents, aunt and baby cousin live there. (No boys allowed, except for my grandfather.)

My island has crystal blue water and white beaches. Coconut trees, pineapple trees, palm trees, and banana trees cover the island. Cat toys and cats cover the island. The island is 1,000 miles long and 1,000 miles wide (so we and the cats have enough space.) We each have our own two-story house. There is a 100 miles long and 100 miles wide island connecting to our island. It has plants growing. All the types of fruits and vegetables in the world grow on them. A large cellar under the ground stores all the food. There is also a pool if we get hot.

Gardeners collect ripe fruits and vegetables every day. Then, chefs cook a meal with the bountiful harvest. They set the table in the dining hall and serve us our meal. We also have a garden filled with all the flowers in the world and a smaller garden filled with herbs and spices. We have a tiny spa just in case we strain our backs or our nails get damaged, especially for our gardeners. There are vets if the cats get sick. We have our very own hospital if we get hurt, too. My island is awesome.

by Nadiyah, 4th grade

(photo from pixabay.com)