By Gus Weinstein
This year, Jamesville-Dewitt High school collected the biggest set of Scholastic Writing Award winners ever. “I don’t remember ever having a gold key winner, and this year we have two,” said J-DHS english teacher Mr. Phillips.
The submitted works compete in a region that includes seven states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, which includes some arts magnet schools, private schools, and home-schooled students. Gold keys are reserved for the top 7-10 percent of entries. Silver keys go to 10-15 percent of entries. Honorable Mentions are given to 15-20 percent of the entries. “All of the awards are great accomplishments for the students and they should all be proud of themselves,” said Mr. Phillips.
The one Gold Key winner was senior Sophie Leavitt who won her award for poetry. Leavitt completed and submitted a series of three poems titled “Your Skin is a Desert,” “A Pontoon for Storms in Late Summer,” and an untitled piece. “I worked really hard on all three of the poems, staying after for help with Mr. Phillips and working on the poems in creative writing class,” said Leavitt. Leavitt doesn't consider herself a poet, she just writes down whatever comes to her mind. “I believes she is naturally talented. I never see her working too hard on her poems but some how they always come out perfect,” said Mr. Phillips.
Senior Bryce Nandal won the gold key award for flash fiction, which is a style of literature of extreme brevity. “Honestly, I was pretty surprised when I heard I won. I didn’t really put in a lot of time. The story only took me about an hour to complete,” said Nandal. Nandal’s story, titled “Goodbye World” was modeled after a song he heard on the radio. “I took the song and I rearranged it and made it my own. Nothing too complicated,” said Nandal. “I am glad that our seniors got the the awards this year. This way they get to go out with a bang,” said Mr. Phillips.
Silver keys were awarded to second place applicants. Senior Jesenia Haynes won a Silver Key for her personal essay. Senior Julia Kinel won a Silver Key for her dramatic script. Junior Urmi Roy won a Silver Key in the science fiction/ fantasy category. J-DHS had three honorable mentions in poetry: junior Elie Anbar, freshman Kristina Bell, and junior Helen Ferrick. Nandal also won an honorable mention for another of his flash fiction stories. Urmi Roy also won an honorable mention for her work on a short story. Senior Elizabeth Burnham won an honorable mention for her Senior Writing Portfolio. “I was cooling winning as a senior. I had never won any scholastic award before so I was pretty excited when I found out I won,” said Burnham.
“An excellent showing from our talented students. Not many of our students enter the contest each year, yet a large percentage of them continue to win,” said Mr. Phillips.