Thomas Jefferson High Student Emma Hastings of Vienna Wins National Writing Honor

Inspiration for fiction comes from real life conversations or incidents; she incorporates her passion for science into her writing.

Emma Hastings of Vienna, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Emma Hastings of Vienna, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Vienna resident Emma Hastings has received the Portfolio Gold Medal, the highest Scholastic Art & Writing Awards honor. She is a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

While Emma’s inspiration comes from real life conversations or incidents, her writing is largely fiction. What makes Emma’s writing unique however, is how she incorporates her passion for science into her writing. Emma does extensive research before she begins a story, allowing her to weave in medical realities throughout her story lines. (Read one of her short stories here.)

The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers recently announced that Emma was among the national winners of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the country's longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12. 

Sixteen high school seniors in all across the country received the honor, which includes a $10,000 cash scholarship. 

“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards serve as clear validation of young artists’ and writers’ creative talent, persistence and promise in their respective fields,” said Virginia McEnerney, executive director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the administrator of the Scholastic Awards. 

“It is our honor to share in these defining moments of achievement for our nation’s teens and to elevate their unbelievable talent on the local, regional and national levels. We see it as a privilege to support them on their journey to becoming artists, writers, designers, doctors, business owners or any aspiration they are determined to realize.”

This program year, a record-breaking 255,000+ works of art and writing were submitted to more than 100 affiliates of the Alliance for regional adjudication. 

From the outstanding pool of regional Gold Key recipients, an impressive panel of creative-industry experts chose more than 1,800 of the most talented students—representing 47 U.S. states as well as students in Washington, D.C. and American schools abroad—to receive national medals. These artists, authors, critics, educators and skilled professionals blindly judged works based on originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal vision or voice—the original three criteria of the program’s founding in 1923. This year's list of distinguished jurors included Andres Serrano (artist), Edwidge Danticat (writer), Michael Raisler (producer), Kay WalkingStick (artist), Jane Cohan (gallery owner), David Krasnow (“Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen”), Alison Elizabeth Taylor (artist) and Steven Savage (illustrator).

To celebrate the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ national winners, the Alliance will kick off this year’s National Celebration in New York City on June 5 with the first annual Maker Prom—a party with interactive art-making stations—at the Roosevelt Hotel, as well as the grand opening of the Art.Write.Now. National Exhibition, a large selection of Award-winning art and writing that will be on display at Parsons The New School for Design and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery. 

On June 6, students will be honored during a special awards ceremony live-webcasted from the world-famous Carnegie Hall, where they will be joined onstage by this year’s Alumni Achievement Award Recipient, Kay WalkingStick, whose career retrospective will open in 2015 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Following the ceremony, the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Benefit will take place at The Edison Ballroom, and to further amplify the festivities that evening, the iconic Empire State Building will be lit in gold.

For 91 years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students through recognition, exhibitions, publications and scholarships. 

Alumni of the Scholastic Awards have gone on to continue their education at many of the top colleges and universities across the country, including Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Parsons The New School for Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University and Columbia University. 

Since its founding, the Awards program has identified the early promise of some of our nation’s most exceptional visionaries, including alumni such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath and John Updike, all of whom won when they were teens. More recently, Stephen King, Myla Goldberg, Zac Posen and Lena Dunham have become celebrated alumni of the program.

For more information about the Alliance, visit www.artandwriting.org. Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Scholastic Media Room

Kevin M O'Connor March 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM
I can't open student Emma Hasting's short story. Can you provide it in another format, please?
brian heller March 25, 2014 at 09:12 AM
i can't read it either... :(
Mary Ann Barton March 25, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Correct; we'll have to get another copy up or if all else fails I'll copy and paste it below the story.
Mary Ann Barton March 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM
OK, we've added the story on the Patch site, and added a link to it in the second paragraph.


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