Four young ladies from the SEED School in Southeast were recognized at this year’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for their contributions to the country’s longest-running and most prestigious writing recognition program for students in grades 7-12.
The poetry and stories written by the SEED School students — Shakayla Williams, 10th grade; Aaliyah Valentine, 10th grade; Mariama Dieng, 10th grade; and Jasmyne Bradford, 12th grade — received honorable mentions, and the girls were awarded writing scholarships from the Edward P. Jones Scholarship Fund.
“These writers are on fire! I am truly inspired by all of the amazing teens who wrote such vulnerable, funny, honest and amazing pieces — which were outstanding,” said Jocquelyn Downs, regional director for Writopia Lab and Scholastic’s D.C. Metro coordinator. “Writopia Lab is thrilled to produce these awards locally and loves being able to honor the next generation of writers in this way.”
Valentine said social issues of today inspired her poem.
“What inspired me to write this poem was because our class topic was community issues, and I felt as though police brutality was one of those problems,” she said. “Writing matters to me because it is a good way to get out your feelings.”
D.C. had its own regional ceremony on Sunday, March 4 at the National 4H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., during which more than 300 teens from the greater Washington area received recognition for their writing from the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
Award recipients received Gold Key, Silver Key or Honorable Mention. Gold Key pieces are submitted to the national level of competition and the top five submissions in the region were named American Voices nominees.
Other recognized writers from D.C. and Maryland include Isabelle Levine, 11th grade, of Potomac, who won an American Voices recognition; and seventh-grader Barbara Weaver of Bethesda, who won the Writer’s Center $100 Humor Scholarship.