Winning a medal regionally in the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is a feat on its own. But a national award is exceptional.
Eight Washington County students have won national awards for their art and writing, earning a place among the top young artists and writers in the nation.
Winners include Sienna Heasley, a freshman at Trinity High School, who won a gold medal and was awarded an American Visions medal for her mixed-media artwork, “Mind’s Eye.”
For the piece, she used pencil, ink, and gouache (opaque watercolor) to illustrate “the spontaneous things people can come up with or think about.”
It depicts a Converse-clad young person who is surrounded by objects including coffee mugs, plants, and other things Heasley’s life revolves around, she said.
Heasley said she has always enjoyed painting and sketching, and recently began taking private lessons at her cousin’s art studio in addition to taking art classes at Trinity High School.
“It was super exciting. I wasn’t really expecting to make it to the nationals,” said Heasley, who placed regionally last year but didn’t garner national recognition.
Logan Baker of Eighty-Four, who captured two national writing awards: a gold medal for “A Sketch of Bravery” and a silver medal for “It All Started Out So Innocently.”
Sara Husain, an eighth-grader from McDonald who is home-schooled, won a silver medal for writing a piece titled, “Muslim.”
Brody Roberts of Cecil Township, a student at Lakeview Christian Academy, won a national silver medal in sculpture for “Take Flight.”
Evelyn Roberts, Brody’s sister, who also attends Lakeview Christian Academy, won a national silver medal in writing for “Reach.”
Eden Silveira of McDonald, who is home-schooled, won a gold medal and American voices medal in writing for “Longing for the Light.”
Tegan Taddeo, a seventh-grader at Ringgold Middle School, earned a silver writing medal for “Dead Heart.”
Suki Yu, a Charleroi High School freshman, won a gold medal in writing for a short story, “What I Let Fly Away.”
Yu’s story is based on her own experiences as a fourth-grader.
“It’s about a girl who sacrificed herself to fit in with her classmates. It’s about identity and finding out who she was and what she wanted to do,” said Yu.
Yu is scheduled to attend the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 9, when the national Scholastic Art Exhibit preview will open.
Silveira, 16, said she didn’t know she had won, but Baker, who also is home-schooled, saw her name when he checked the awards list.
“It was definitely a surprise,” said Silveira, a sophomore whose science fiction piece followed the journey of a blind teenage girl searching for love and friendship. “I enjoy writing very much, but I didn’t expect to get anything for the story.”
The Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards have celebrated teen artists and writers from across the country since 1923.
The Washington County teens join famous national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards alumni including Andy Warhol, Robert Redford, Stephen King, Truman Capote, and Joyce Carole Oats.
To qualify for the national awards, the artists must have won a Gold Award in their states.
More than 100,000 students submitted more than 260,000 works of art and writing to the 2022 Scholastic Awards. Fewer than 2,000 works received a National Medal, which places those who won nationally within the top 1% of all submissions.
Students who win national Scholastic awards also are considered for scholarships at 50 universities.
Regionally, outstanding artists and writers in Washington, Fayette, and Greene counties were honored at the Scholastic Art& Writing Awards of Southwestern Pennsylvania, held virtually in April at California University of Pennsylvania.
This year, students submitted 407 pieces of writing and art for the regional competition.
The art judges awarded 19 Gold Keys, 27 Silver Keys, and 63 Merit Awards to high school students. Middle school students were awarded five Gold Keys, five Silver Keys, and 10 Merits.
Nine Gold Keys were awarded to the writers at the high school level. The judges also awarded 68 Silver Keys, and 60 Merit Awards. Middle school writers received three Golds, 22 Silvers, and 32 Merit Awards.
California University of Pennsylvania has been the home of this Scholastic program since 2009.
A selection of student works awarded Gold or Silver Keys is available for download on the national website, artandwriting.org. Find the link under My Region, writing.