Adriana Carter Wins National Award in Writing Competition

Winning a National medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the pinnacle of any young artist or writer’s career. Beginning in the 7th grade, students can submit a variety of works in different categories such as photography, sculpture, poetry, and short stories. These works first are entered into a regional competition, depending on the geographic location of the student’s school. If the student receives a regional gold key for any pieces, when the results come out, then they are in the running for a national award. From there the fate of a student’s writing and art is in the hands of a panel of judges.

In mid march, Magnet’s very own Adriana Carter (11) found out she had received a Gold Key in the national competition for her personal memoir titled December 31, 1967. Because she won this award, she got to go to New York City for a special weekend of events to celebrate the achievements of young artists and writers. The Talon sat down with her to find out what it’s like to win a Scholastic Gold Key.

What was your inspiration for your piece that won you a national award?

My mom is from the Philippines, and when I was younger she would always talk about the different culture and life she had there. She often told me about how she didn’t grow up with a dad, and I soon learned the story about how he died. For my personal essay that won a national award, I decided to write about his death and how a single moment greatly impacted my family.

What is your writing process that contributed to you winning this award?

I actually only decided to write this piece about a week before the deadline, and I only spent three days working on it. The first day I skyped with my grandmother who lives in the Philippines and took notes as she recalled her experience to me in detail. The next two days I spent writing and editing the story and had to submit it the day afterwards.

Describe your reaction when you found out you won a regional and national award.

For only spending three days writing this story, my expectations were extremely low when I entered it. I wasn’t expecting to win much at regionals, much less nationals. So when I checked the results for the regional competition, I was surprised I had won a gold key and anxiously waited for the national results, although I tried to convince myself that I probably wasn’t going to win anything since they receive more than 330,000 entries from across the country every year. I was in Ms. Novinger’s English class last year when I checked the national results, and I just remember freaking out and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my grandmother about it.

Describe the trip to New York City when you received your award. And what was your favorite part?

I love visiting New York City, so I was really excited to get the opportunity to go for the Scholastic National Ceremony! The other winners and I all got to go to Carnegie Hall to be recognized and celebrities such as Ellie Kemper, Amy Schumer, and Allison Williams gave speeches. The next day I was able to go to the galleries where they had set up all the works of the people who won for art and stations where you could read the works of the winning writers. There were also many panels throughout the day, and I attended the panel with the winners of the Senior Writing Portfolio as well as another panel with the National Student Poets and watched some writers read their works. The whole experience was incredible, but I think my favorite part was meeting all the other writers. I left feeling inspired and wanting to write more.

What types of writing can we expect to see from you in this year’s competition?

This year I’ve been working on writing more poetry, but I would also like to try submitting a few short stories and maybe another personal essay as well. I’ve been trying to write a lot more this year so hopefully I’ll be able to submit more content. I’m also planning on entering some other writing competitions as well.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards registration opened on September 13th and is open until December 7th.

To find out more information about the contest and the specific requirements for each category, visit their website:

You can also read Adriana’s award winning memoir here: