America's Most Creative Teens Named as National 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Recipients

Joining Alumni Andy Warhol, Stephen King, Lena Dunham, Ken Burns, and Zac Posen, Teens Receive Up to $10,000 Scholarships

Mar 14, 2016, 14:40 ET from Scholastic Inc.

NEW YORK, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- 

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The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers (the Alliance) today announced the national award recipients of the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. A record-breaking 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level in the Awards' 29 categories, which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, video game design and more. Sixteen high school seniors received the program's highest national honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. In total, the Alliance awards more than $250,000 in scholarships annually to top Awards recipients and their educators. The Alliance also partners with art institutes, colleges, and universities to earmark scholarships for college-bound Scholastic Awards recipients.

Since the program's founding in 1923, the Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, and Sylvia Plath. More recently, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, Zac Posen, and Lena Dunham received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards when they were teens.

"We are always astonished by the sheer energy and ingenuity of the creative work that students produce, and by their bravery in putting it into the world for feedback from arts professionals," said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. "We hear from Alumnae of the program every single day that receiving a Scholastic Award is life-changing, and we are thrilled to give that opportunity to talented students from across the country again this year."

A complete list of the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national recipients is available:

2016 Gold Medal Portfolio Recipients

  • Leonardo Bacan, age 19, Miami, FL; Shayla Grace Calaban, age 18, Indianapolis, IN; Abraham Cone, age 17, Chelsea, MI; Razan Elbaba, age 17, Vienna, VA; Zachary Endicott, age 18, St. Petersburg, FL; Adam Gowan, age 17, Toronto, Canada; Sophie Hullinger, age 17, West Palm, Beach, FL; Allison Jiang, age 17, Holmdel, NJ; Nyanna Johnson, age 17, Dayton, OH; Fiona Jungmann, age 17, Andover, MA; Sophia Mautz, age 17, Portland, OR; Ruohan Miao, age 17, Chandler, AZ; Rachel Page, age 17, Washington, DC; Conor Twohy, age 17, Towson, MD; Sydni Wells, age 17, Miami, FL; Alex Zhang, age 18, Exeter, NH.

2016 Gold Key Recipients

  • This program year, more than 2,200 of the most talented teens from the United States, Washington, D.C., and American schools abroad received national recognition and gained access to exhibition and publication opportunities, as well as scholarships.
  • Gold Key works are then judged nationally by an impressive panel of creative-industry experts to receive Gold, Silver, American Visions & Voices, Portfolio Silver with Distinction or Portfolio Gold Medals.

2016 Special New Scholarships

  • The first-ever Editorial Cartoon category, sponsored by The Herb Block Foundation, celebrates the legacy of four-time Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Herb Block and his remarkable contribution to American history and free expression. The three teen artists who received The Herb Block Award for Editorial Cartoon, a $1,000 scholarship for their outstanding drawings, illustrations, or animations offering commentary on current events or political topics, are: Kaitlyn Quach, age 15, New York, NY; Ryan Sunada-Wong, age 15, Millburn, NJ; and Sherrill Zheng, age 17, Roseville, MN.
  • The Neiman Marcus Awards provide one $1,000 scholarship for outstanding work in Fashion and one $1,000 scholarship for outstanding work in Jewelry. This year's winners are: Olivia Reavey, 17, Hingham, MA (Fashion) and Zachary Gudziak, 18, Beverly Hills, MI (Jewelry).
  • The RBC "Flaunt It" Award, sponsored by RBC Capital Markets, is a $1,000 scholarship that celebrates teens' outstanding work, whether in art or writing, that explores the theme: "The things that make me different, make me, me." This year's winners are: Sydney Maddox, Hyannis, MA (Film & Animation, age 17, and Peyton Vazquez, 13, Deer Park, TX (Personal Essay/Memoir).
  • Additional Awards and scholarships for students are made possible through the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The New York Times, and the Gedenk Movement.

National Celebration Events (New York City):

  • June 2: National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall: The Gold Portfolio and Gold Medal students across the nation will be honored at Carnegie Hall with appearances by this year's honoree, Ken Burns, award-winning filmmaker and documentarian.
  • June 2-12: Art.Write.Now.2016 National Exhibition: More than 1,000 of the top Scholastic Art & Writing Awards visual and literary works will be on display for the public at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design at The New School and Pratt Institute's Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City.

Judging Criteria:

All art and writing submissions are judged based on the program's three criteria: originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice. Student works are first adjudicated regionally through the more than 100 local Affiliates of the Alliance. Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated within their communities through local exhibitions and ceremonies.


The Alliance is grateful for its generous sponsors, who provide funds to support and produce the National Scholastic Awards: Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., The New York Times, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, The National Endowment for the Arts, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, The Herb Block Foundation, RBC Capital Markets, Neiman Marcus, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Golden Artist Colors, The Gedenk Movement; numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, visit
Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Scholastic media room

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SOURCE Scholastic Inc.