14 Students Earn Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Friday, February 4, 2022
“TEENAGE 10+8,” a painting by Shin Miyamichi ’22, received a Gold Key
award and is an American Visions Nominee.

A total of 14 Mercersburg Academy students have been honored in the 2022 South Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition, which is part of the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Work by Shin Miyamichi ’22, Avo Reid ’22, Mel Cort ’23, Isonah Dlodlo ’23, Jasmine Zhu ’23, and Eric Yoo ’24 earned Gold Key awards, and entries by Miyamichi and Reid were also designated American Visions and American Voices Nominees, the highest regional honors presented by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. All six of these individuals will advance to compete for awards at the national level; other award-winning work by Mercersburg students garnered Silver Key and Honorable Mention awards.

“In December, I put a call out to the Mercersburg community for Scholastic writing submissions and was delighted with the response I received from students across all grades,” says Michele Poachelli, English department head and director of the writing center. “Some submitted stories and poems they had written for classes, and others submitted pieces they had written on their own. Mercersburg students never cease to have creative work up their sleeves, and they're always generously willing to share it. I'm so pleased that Scholastic has recognized and awarded the work of this talented group of writers and artists.”

All Gold Key recipients received recognition in multiple areas. Miyamichi earned a Gold Key for his painting “TEENAGE 10+8.” This painting is also an American Visions Nominee and will be on exhibit at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Reid received a Gold Key award in the short story category for “The Delivery” and in the personal essay and memoir category for “Church, Art, and Choice.” “Church, Art, and Choice” is also an American Voices Nominee. Reid received a Silver Key for his short story “Esme” and an honorable mention for his short story “How to Talk to the Police.” Cort received Gold Key awards for the poems “Grave Goods,” “Country Time Yellow,” and “Chapel Haikus” and also received a Silver Award for the poem “Bodily Laundry.” Dlodlo received a Gold Key award for her poem “Sorrow” and a Silver Key award for her poem “TO QUEER BROWN BODIES THAT CONSIDERED SUICIDE.”

Thinking about her desire to enter the competition, Dlodlo says, “Last year, I saw that Mel Cort ’23 had won an award, and I decided that this year I would put my writing out and see if I would win anything. I tend to write my best writing when I’m depressed, and it all comes to me naturally. I cannot recall a time where I had to think about my poetry; I let my emotions and spirit guide me, and writing literally pours out of me. I usually find myself crying when I write. So when I decided to submit these poems, I chose the ones that I had written from the most vulnerable part of myself. I put myself out there, and I allowed the judges to decide if my writing resonated with them. And it did.”

To round out the Gold Key recipients, Zhu earned a Gold Key for her critical essay “In Bomb and Snow, Yours” and an honorable mention in photography for “Behind the Curtain.” Yoo earned a Gold Key in the category of journalism for “Is Science Improving Sports?” He also earned an honorable mention in the personal essay and memoir category for “Protecting My Home.”

In addition to Cort, Dlodlo, and Reid, Silver Key awards went to Justin An ’23 for his critical essay “What Does Life Expect From Us?” and to Joyce Cui ’22 for “The Ties That Binds” (mixed media) and “Harmony” and “Figure Painting” (painting).

Honorable Mention awards went to the following students: Ivy Chan ’24 for her photos “Under the Heavenly Pit Sinkhole” and “Afternoon Stroll,” Gigi Devlin ’24 for the short story “Alone,” Clare Ip ’23 for her critical essay “The Environmental Injustices of Historic Redlining,” Qunicy Qu ’25 for the flash fiction piece “Ignite,” Ruby Shang ’24 in the science fiction and fantasy category for “Repetition,” and Holden Walker ’23 in the category of drawing and illustration for “Unboxed: Self Portrait” and “Meet Your Maker.”

Last year, 17 Mercersburg students were recognized in the 2021 South Central Pennsylvania Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. An and Cort (both award winners in 2022) were among the students who were honored last year.

For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen (owenl@mercersburg.edu) in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.


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