ODA’s Poets Receive the Top Writing Awards

Hailey Schlotthauer, Staff Writer

If you missed the big announcement where Mr. Lemieux actually gave his student bouquets of flowers, you missed the announcement that five of our own ODA students won awards in poetry from the Scholastic Arts and Writing Contest, from Honorable Mention to Gold Keys!

Hailey Schlotthauer, junior, won Silver Keys for both “I Don’t Write About Boys, I-X” and for “Inheritance.” Nora Altajar, sophomore, won a Gold Key for “Je Ne Sais Quoi”, an Honorable Mention for “Stubborn Horns,” and an Honorable Mention for “Aphrodite (In Time).” Melanie Saltz, sophomore, won a Silver Key for “Hakotel Hama’aravi” and an Honorable Mention for “Lorelei.” Simone Timol, sophomore, won a Silver Key for “Dearest Sister.” And Mary Fulton, freshman, won an Honorable Mention for “Mind Palace.”

So, what are these awards, and what is Scholastic?

Established in 1923, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards represent the nation’s largest, longest-running, most prestigious visual and literary arts program recognizing accomplishments of students in grades 7 – 12. It is a symbol of excellence that can bolster resumes, college applications and scholarship applications.

“It’s to give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind,” says Maurice R. Robinson, Founder of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

300,000 pieces of work were submitted this year to the contest, these pieces being categorized into 28 different groups. Once the work is submitted, each piece is judged by a panel under “blind adjudication.” This means that the judges have no information on the student’s identity.

There are three big things the judges look for, originality, technical skill, and an emergence of a personal voice. Everyone’s work is then divided into different regions, for example, the students from ODA who submitted are in the southeast region.

From that selected region, only the top 15% will win an award. The top 5% will win the Gold Key award, the top 7% will win a Silver Key award, and the top 10-15% will win an honorable mention. All three of these awards are very distinguished and respected. The Gold Key winners don’t stop just there. Any work that has won a Gold Key is then submitted to be judged at a national level, having a chance to win a national medal.

The process was long, but these girls earned their recognition.

You might be wondering how these ladies even began the creative process? Much of their creative writing is due to the literary magazine club, or Calliope. These ladies, along with many others, meet every Friday during lunch to workshop each others writing! Whether it is a poem, flash ficiton, you name it (and write it) and the club will workshop it!

Though the girls may have had their doubts, club adviser, Mr. Lemieux confidence never wavered.

“I knew these girls would win. Even though they had their doubts, they are more talented than they are willing to give themselves credit for. I am so incredibly proud of all of them. They earned it.”

These girls don’t stop at Scholastic. They are all currently applying to the top summer writing programs. Hailey Schlotthauer applied to Iowa Young Writers Studio for poetry. You may have heard of because of alumni Morgan Woods and Emma Henson. Nora Altajar is applying to Kenyon’s writing program for fiction. Both have applicants from all over the world, with acceptance rates of 20-30%. Best of luck to both girls!

Congratulations again to the girls for winning such prestigious awards! Due to publication restrictions, there is no online link for the pieces. However, these pieces will be featured in the ODA Lit mag, Calliope. This unique ODA publication is released at the end of each school year.