Each year, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, along with more than 100 visual and literary arts organizations across the country, accept submissions from teens in grades 7-12 for their Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Hundreds of thousands of writing submissions across 11 categories are judged based on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice. Regional winners receive a Gold Key and move on to the national competition.
This year, Roxbury Latin writers collected 17 medals and honorable mentions in the regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Daniel Berk (III) received Honorable Mention in the Critical Essay category. Andrew Zhang (II) received two Honorable Mentions in Critical Essay as well as a Silver Key in Poetry. Hari Narayanan (II) received recognition for 13 out of his 22 submissions across five categories, more individual awards and recognitions than any other individual in the state. Two of Hari’s awards were Gold Keys, making him one of only five juniors in the state to win multiple Gold Keys this year.
Hari has been captivated by writing ever since his grandmother, an author, and his great grand-aunt, a retired English professor, introduced him to poetry. For the last seven years, he has entered the West Roxbury Library poetry contest, winning it a total of six times. Recently, Hari has begun keeping a diary so that writing is part of his daily routine. At Roxbury Latin, his English classes, the Tripod, and even Math-Science Investigations, with its blog assignments, have given him ample opportunity to develop his craft. “[Writing] is the most valuable skill Roxbury Latin has taught me,” Hari says.
Hari’s two winning submissions were in the Journalism and Critical Essay categories. His journalism submission covered a panel of school shooting survivors from Parkland, Florida, at Harvard’s Kennedy School last spring. His critical essay explored the relationship between Gene and Phineas in A Separate Peace. This essay was one Hari had originally written for Mr. Randall’s English class in ninth grade. It was the second year Hari had submitted this particular essay; when it did not win any awards last year, Hari worked with Mr. Lawler to refine it—and the work paid off! Both of Hari’s Gold Key submissions will move on to the national competition in New York City; the winners will be announced in March.