Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

2020-2021 Harris County Regional Awards Program Resources

Are you ready for the 2021 Scholastic Awards?

Important update

All exhibits and ceremonies will be virtual this year. I had hoped that we would still be able to have our exhibits. However, with the numbers of COVID at an all time high, we simply cannot risk the interactions that come with art drop off, hanging of over 1,000 pieces of artwork with a team of volunteers and then art pick up. We will certainly miss the in person events that make the regional awards experience so special and we look forward to the return of these events in 2022. More information to come regarding the virtual events. We will be using the thumbnails of the art work for both the virtual exhibits and the ceremonies.
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Harris County School District Scholastic Leaders,

Thank you very much for your daily commitment to students in Harris County.

HCDE has proudly served as a regional sponsor for The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards since 1993. Established by Maurice Robinson, founder of Scholastic Books Inc., it is the largest and most prestigious recognition program and source of scholarships for creative teens in the U.S.

Each fall, area schools and districts submit students’ best artwork and writing to compete at the regional level. Entries are judged by panels of highly-qualified professionals who select Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention recipients. Gold Key award recipients go on to compete at the national level. More than 1,500 students receive national awards each year. Past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.

My team and I are here to help provide support for you, as you support the teachers and students in your district.

We are looking forward to another great year!

Andrea Segraves

Director of the Teaching and Learning Center

Regional Affiliate for Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Harris County Department of Education

Why Students Should Enter the 2021 Scholastic Awards
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Ethan was one of five students selected from across the entire nation as a 2020 National Student Poet, the nation's highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. The Class of 2020 will serve as ambassadors for poetry through a partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Science. These talented teens will present in spaces across the nation, inspiring curiosity and new visions of our collective future.
2020 National Student Poets Appointment Ceremony

About the National Student Poets Program

The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partner to present the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Five outstanding high school poets whose work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise are selected annually for a year of service as national poetry ambassadors. National Student Poets are chosen from among the National Medalists in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with input from a jury of literary luminaries and leaders in education and the arts. The Poets receive academic awards and opportunities to present their work at writing and poetry events during their year of service. They develop and lead community-focused projects for a wide range of audiences in underserved communities throughout their regions. National Student Poets Program Alumni remain connected to the Program, often continuing their community projects after their terms have concluded, and mentor each incoming class. The National Student Poets Program is supported by funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Who's Who on the HCDE Team?

Creating Your Account

How to Enter the Scholastic Awards

Be Original

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All steps of the submission process will be done online this year. There is not a day to bring paper copies to HCDE. Please see below for specifics.

If you are having issues with the Scholastic student submission system- please try clearing your cached items. If that doesn't help, please email me and let me know what issues you are experiencing.

How to Pay Online

To pay online, students can go to step three in their student dashboard, "Print, Sign & Submit Your Forms, and Pay For Your Submissions." After uploading their works, they should click on the blue button to see their submission forms and payment options. This will take them to a payment page where they will see their entries.

They should select the entries they wish to pay for (or select all!) by checking the boxes on the left side of the submissions. Then they will be able to click the "Pay Online" button, which will take them to the PayPal page.

Once they complete the payment, their work should automatically be marked as paid in their accounts, and no further action is necessary other than completing the submission forms. However, sometimes something interrupts the communication between PayPal and our website. If that happens, they can still mark the work as paid. To do this, click the button again to "See my submission forms and payment options."

They will see the PayPal Payment is Incomplete (meaning in progress). Underneath that there is a button labeled "Options" where you can check a box indicating you have already completed the payment and where you can put the payment confirmation number. This is the confirmation number on your receipt from PayPal.

If there are any other problems you're experiencing, it would help us to have more specific information about the problems your students are encountering. If you could share which accounts are experiencing trouble, we can take a look to see what might be happening.

Thank you! We can't wait to see what your students submit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Great resource to share with teachers and students- and to use as you guide educators through the process.

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Scholastic's History

“…to give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind at least a fraction of the honors and rewards accorded to their athletic classmates for demonstrating their bodily skills.” –Maurice R. Robinson, Founder

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. Each year, increasing numbers of teens participate in the program and become a part of our community—young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, video game artists and science fiction writers—along with countless educators who support and encourage the creative process.

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We know that not every work will fit perfectly into a category. It’s up to students and educators to read the category descriptions and choose the category that best fits their work. Please direct students with questions about categories to

What are the submission fees?

$7.00 per individual submission and $25.00 per portfolio submission.

The Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and its Affiliate Partners. Submission fees support both your local Affiliate and the Alliance to cover the cost of processing, customer service, scholarships, ceremonies, exhibitions, publications, and other general operating costs.

What should I do if I can’t afford the submission fee?

If the submission fee is a barrier to your participation in the Awards, we will waive the submission fee when you submit a Fee Waiver Form. In your account, go to the payment page and check the box indicating you will be submitting a Fee Waiver. A link to a Fee Waiver Form will appear. Complete the form and submit it with your submission form. A parent or guardian must sign the form certifying in good faith that the submission fee presents a barrier to participation.

Submission forms received without payment or the Fee Waiver Form will be considered incomplete and may be disqualified.

Online Galleries- Art & Writing Examples

Visit online galleries to see art and writing from current and past Scholastic Awards recipients.

As an educator, can I waive the submission fees for my class?

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and its Affiliates will waive the submission fee if it presents a significant barrier to participation and if the student submits a Fee Waiver Form. Each student and their family should make this determination for themselves.

Fee Waiver Forms are individual, and we do not accept blanket Fee Waiver Forms for schools or classrooms.

A parent or guardian must sign the Fee Waiver form certifying in good faith that the submission fee presents a barrier to participation. Educators are not required to sign this form.

How to photograph your art
Scholastic Gold Key YouTube Channel

Click here to watch highlights from previous years' national ceremonies.

Editorial Cartoon Scholarship and Upcoming Free Workshop for Students at HCDE

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ZITONG WANG, Diversity Discussion, Editorial Cartoon sponsored

by the Herb Block Foundation. Grade 11, Mercer Island High

School, Mercer Island, WA

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A Guide to Copyright & Plagiarism

Work that is submitted to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards must be original work created by the student. If a submitted work is copied from another artist or writer or is plagiarized, the work will be disqualified from the Scholastic Awards.

What is Copyright & Plagiarism?

Copyright is a form of legal protection prohibiting others from copying one’s creative work without permission. A copyright is a property right. Copyright law grants the creator of an original work the exclusive rights for its use and distribution.

Plagiarism is an ethical violation resulting from failure to cite sources and engaging in the act of passing someone else’s work or ideas off as one’s own. This applies even if you have only copied a part, rather than the whole, of another’s work.

Tips: Preventing Copyright & Plagiarism Violations

  • Educators and students are responsible for educating themselves on copyright and plagiarism issues. This page is only a guide. There is no formula for creating an original work.
  • If you have any doubt about whether a submission is original, choose not to submit that work.
  • Always cite all sources, whether the source is protected by copyright or not.
  • Even if you have permission to use a work or if the work is in the public domain, the work that you submit to the Scholastic Awards must represent a new, original work.
  • No number of words or percentage of a source can be safely assumed to render a work original.
  • Changing the medium of original work is not considered transformative. For example, a painting or drawing of a photograph taken from the Internet or a magazine is not considered original and should not be submitted to the Scholastic Awards.
  • Changing the order of the lines in a poem or adding a few words to a sentence written by another author is not considered transformative. For example, a poem comprised of rearranged or paraphrased song lyrics is not considered original and should not be submitted to the Scholastic Awards.
  • Educators: if a classroom assignment involves any copying of another artist or writer’s work, even if it’s just for the purpose of practicing and learning, please direct students not to submit these works to the Scholastic Awards.

Scholastic Awards Scholarships 2021

Click on the link below to find out more about the Scholastic story in Harris County! Please feel free to use the resources provided in this electronic newsletter.


No Restrictions on Subject Matter and Freedom of Expression

There are no restrictions on subject matter in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Alliance allows works by teenagers to cover controversial themes, including identity, violence, politics, religion, sex, the environment, human rights, etc. Jurors must select work based on its successful execution, and not on the nature of its content. Jurors who feel that they cannot judge a work fairly because their personal beliefs influence their reaction to the work must recuse themselves from adjudicating that work. In a case where a juror recuses him or herself, the other two jurors should reach a consensus.

Works must not be renderings of Old Masters or already-published works. These works should be disqualified.

Description of the Three Criteria

Though categories and jurors have changed throughout the ninety year history of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and student submissions have naturally reflected changing cultural mores, one fundamental aspect of the selection process has remained unchanged since the earliest days of the Awards: the criteria by which jurors evaluate work.

Jurors are asked to weight three core values: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision in determining whether a submission receives a Scholastic Award.


Work that challenges conventions, blurs the boundaries between genres, and shifts notions of how a particular concept or emotion can be expressed. Jurors are encouraged to look for works of art and writing that surprise them.


Work that demonstrates a unique point of view or style.


Work that shows proficiency in using the styles and techniques of the category. Exhibition of technical skill alone is unlikely to be rewarded unless it’s exercised in the service of expressing an idea that is unique, powerful, and innovative and helps to highlight the artist’s vision and the writer’s voice.

We are familiar with this type of creativity from Awards alumni Richard Avedon, Sylvia Plath, and Joyce Carol Oates. But what did their works look and sound like when they were teenagers? How are America’s young artists expressing the concerns and issues of modern-day life?

These are the questions we ask our jurors to consider, and we believe our three criteria go a long way toward helping our jurors best identify tomorrow’s cultural change-makers.

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Follow me on Social Media @AndreaSegraves

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