Two Pettisville graduates received national recognition for writing and artistic ability through the Scholastic Awards program, and one went to New York City to claim her prize.
Alyx Smith was awarded a National Silver Key for her short story “Chalk Dust.”
Sarah Aeschliman received the same honor for artwork for a screen print of an ice cream cone entitled “A Summer Day.”
Both girls were members of the 2010 Pettisville High School graduating class.
The two, along with their teachers, were invited to attend an awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Aeschliman was unable to attend.
Smith went to New York along with Rebecca Dorosz, PHS English teacher.
Before receiving the national honor, both had been chosen for regional awards. Smith received a regional gold key award for her writing portfolio and the short story.
She also received silver key awards for another short story and for poetry, and a certificate for a humor piece.
Aeschliman earned a regional gold key for “A Summer Day.”
Several other Pettisville students also received regional recognition.
Caleb Liechty, a PHS freshman last year, and Taylor D’Alelio and Chrysta Beck, eighth graders, received gold key awards for short stories.
Jacob Roth, a freshman, received a silver key, and Clara Beck, an eighth grader, received a certificate in the short story category.
Over 165,000 works were submitted to The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards at the regional level this year. Top works received gold keys and were entered into the national level.
More than 10,000 gold key works were considered for national awards. Approximately 1,400 scholastic award medals were bestowed on the nation’s most talented teen artists and writers.
The awards ceremony was part of a weekend of art and cultural events held June 9- 11.
Michael Bloomberg, New York City mayor, officially proclaimed June 9 as “Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Day.” The Empire State Building was lit in gold on the evening of June 9 to commemorate the events.
Smith and Dorosz attended the award ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 9. They also were able to participate in a “day of behindthe scenes art and culture events.”
Included were a panel discussion, a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a public reading of their writing at Bryant Park.
Not Her Best
Alyx said her favorite part was the award ceremony at Carnegie Hall.
“It was really cool, and exciting,” she said. “I was really surprised that I won an award for that story, because I didn’t think it was the best story I sent in.”
Smith wrote the pieces she submitted as part of a special independent study creative writing class she took at Pettisville.
She completed the regular creative writing course her junior year, but wanted to continue study in that area, so she was able to arrange for the independent class her senior year.
Alyx said that she plans to pursue a degree in graphic design. While in NYC, she toured an advertising agency.
“I submitted a number of art pieces to the competition, and none of them won an award,” Smith said.
“I joke with people that I am obviously going into the wrong profession, since my artwork didn’t win and my writing did.”
Smith hopes to make use of both skills by pursuing a career in advertising where she could write copy and draw the artwork to go with the advertisements.
The New York trip was supported by the Pettisville School Board, the school administration, and the Pettisville Teacher’s Association.
Dorosz said she was “impressed that in an educational climate often criticized for preoccupation with standards and one-size-fitsall curriculum, the Pettisville School District demonstrated support of the arts and of individual student accomplishment.”– D.J. Neuenschwander
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