Your students need to enter this contest!
Last December, ten of my students’ entered their writing in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Two of those students won Silver Keys and three won honorable mention awards in the Missouri Writing Region awards, a qualifying round before the national level. (Students who win Gold Keys at regionals then have their work advance to nationals.) In 2018, one of my students won a Gold Key in poetry at regionals, and then a Silver Key at nationals. So far, I’d say we’ve had a great run!
However, it did take me a year or two to become accustomed to the submission process. The Scholastic awards do involve more than other contests I’m familiar with; it takes some extra planning to figure out.
If you’ve never entered your students’ work before in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, you should try it. It’s rigorous, prestigious, and one that your winning students should list on their high school honors records.
In case you’re unfamiliar with these awards, here’s some info from their website (link below):
“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. Students across America submitted nearly 350,000 original works this year in 29 different categories of art and writing.”
Here are six tips to keep in mind:
1. Start early. Students can open their online accounts and start submitting works for the 2020 awards on September 12, 2019. There are forms that parents must sign, so have your students enter early to allow time for those forms to go home for a signature.
2. Get parents’ best email addresses, ones they check often, prior to submitting. One of my students didn’t know her parent’s email, and that cost us some time. Also, make sure parents know that they will receive an email message about their child’s submission(s), as well as an invitation and RSVP to the regional awards ceremony.
3. Don’t have kids enter during normal class time because they’ll no doubt have questions and need some hands-on help. Or at least plan an independent activity for the students not entering the contest so you can assist those who are submitting entries.
4. Decide how entries will be paid for. Do this ahead of time. Entries cost $5 each in all categories (check out the categories here); five poems can be submitted for a single $5 fee. If a student qualifies for free and/or reduced lunch, they can print out a form to waive the fee. This form needs to be signed by a parent. This year, my school paid for all the entries; the check was mailed in separately with the ten submission forms to the address on the receipt. If your school also pays your entry fees, don’t forget to allow time for your school’s requisition process.
5. If your student enters poetry, plan a little extra time to prepare their entry. Because they can enter five poems in one entry, they can also order and arrange the poems in the single entry “file” as they see fit (such as putting their strongest one first, for example).
6. Visit the website, find your affiliate partner (the regional contest) and deadlines, and open your online educator account before your students start submitting so you can see how the system works. There is some getting used to the submission process for this contest for both students and their teachers.
I’m sure I’m leaving out some details and it’s quite possible I don’t have all the facts exactly straight. To be honest, I’m still learning. However, this contest is important and it deserves your attention and time. Go for it!
Thanks for reading! I hope these tips will help you and your students enter the 2021 competition!
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