Scholastic Writing Awards judge talks to students


Kathy Crutcher discusses poems with students during A-block.

The room fell quiet as students began to read and judge a moving poem about heavy racial issues. After deliberation, they came to a consensus that the final poem of three was by far the best.

This exercise was part of the introduction to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, held during A-block on Oct. 24. Kathy Crutcher, the regional affiliate of the writing portion and director of Writopia Lab D.C., visited the school to encourage students to enter their pieces and talk about the criteria for being recognized with a regional medal and perhaps a national one.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is a national competition that was developed to recognize creative students who express themselves through writing and visual arts. Jefferson had 35 regional winners and four national winners last year in the writing category. The school was also recognized for their art projects at the regional level.

Students can be recognized at three different levels regionally: gold key, silver key and honorable mention. They are judged on originality, voice and technical skill, although there is less emphasis placed on grammar and spelling than on artistry.

During her visit, Crutcher used examples to show students how they would be judged and gave helpful tips. One of her most emphasized points was that risk taking is appreciated in this competition.

“Your guiding principal should be authenticity and dangerous honesty,” Crutcher said.