Scholastic Writing Awards winners showcase their work


Junior Emma Puranen reads her science fiction piece before an audience at the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

On Feb. 3, sophomore Pooja Chandrashekar, senior Nathan Kodama and junior Emma Puranen read their award-winning writing pieces at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in downtown D.C.

Jefferson students submitted their work in January to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a national competition sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and sponsored at the regional level by Writopia Lab D.C.

Puranen, who received an Honorable Mention for her science fiction story, was encouraged by her English teacher to submit her work.

Kodama, a Gold Key winner who wrote about his mixed Chinese and Japanese heritage, said, “I wanted to participate because I had a unique story to tell. This story was one voice in a trending population of people who are racial mixes.”

In early February, 35 Jefferson students were awarded with a Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention for their writing. Students who garnered a Gold Key, the highest award at the regional level, had their pieces forwarded to the national level for further consideration. Those results will come out on March 15.

All recognized students were encouraged to read their pieces at the Barnes & Noble bookstore before an audience of authors and writing aficionados.

“I think the whole experience was really special and memorable,” Chandrashekar, who won a Gold Key for her reflections on her Indian heritage, said. “The audience appreciated my work and gave me really good feedback.”

An awards ceremony will be held at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater in Arlington on March 19. All students who received awards are invited to attend.