Since 1923, Scholastic has been hosting a writing and art competition for students across the country.
People such as Andy Warhol, Stephen King, and Charles White are just a few of the previous winners who won the award as teenagers and grew to be successful.
Godwin junior Serena Grant was recently awarded second place at the regional level in the science fiction and fantasy category of the competition.
She was awarded with a Silver Key, which is granted to the second and third place winners within each category.
“This competition is about celebrating the arts and providing the winners with the means to move forward with their education concerning the arts,” said Grant.
The competition is available to students around the country, with the only requirement being a $7 entrance fee.
National level winners are granted scholarship money for college, while Grant, who competed at the regional level, was awarded a certificate.
“I entered the competition because I love writing and I thought if I got an award, it would be good for my resume when applying to college or submitting pieces for publication. It’s like I’ve finally done something with writing and now I have something to show for it,” said Grant.
Grant has enjoyed writing since elementary school.
However, writing isn’t her passion.
Her passion is storytelling and writing is simply the medium in which she chooses to execute her passion.
“Writing isn’t the biggest part of it for me, but I really enjoy storytelling and writing is a means to do that. I love writing because I love mapping out and executing stories. It helps me think ahead in my own life and the observance and understanding of different people goes well with character work,” said Grant.
Grant’s short story is about a young couple living in a small town in the middle of nowhere.
While they walk home one night, the power of the woods manipulates their psyche and chaos ensues.
“I chose the topic because I really like paranormal elements, but when something’s just off, like a still pond without a reflection or walking down a tiled hallway and not hearing your heels click. It’s a kind of subtle unsettling element that I like to write, followed by a character having some kind of horrifying realization that sets off the action,” said Grant.
The writing process took roughly two and a half weeks.
After that, Grant was able to submit her entry on the Scholastic website.
“It took me a few weeks to write, one week for writing, one for first edits by myself, and then around a week for edits and critique from other people. The weeks weren’t consecutive, but it added up,” said Grant.
Grant took the competition incredibly seriously because it gave her the chance to be recognized for what she’s passionate about.
“The competition is important to me because it involves something that I enjoy, which is writing. I put work into what I write, and that commitment turns the piece into something more important than a story idea buried in a journal or a sub-folder on Google Drive,” said Grant.
Grant was in Book Club when Godwin English teacher Christie Maddox came in to tell her that she had won second place in the competition.
“When I found out I won, I was so happy and honored to receive the award, and I couldn’t wait for the recipient ceremony. It’s about two weeks away right now, and it’s going to have all of the key winners and honorable mentions artwork on display, as well as writing contestant attendance,” said Grant.
Grant believes that this accomplishment has given her a new confidence to propel herself into a literary career.
“I want to be an author after college and be able to make a livable wage off of that, but if not, a teacher or work at a publishing company are also on my list,” said Grant.
Grant found the true meaning and importance of storytelling and is motivated to continue to improve her skills.
“I think writing is valuable because stories are. They don’t need to be critically acclaimed or revolutionary to be good, stories are just something that people have enjoyed forever, and writing them feels special. It’s almost therapeutic to get an idea for a character or a scene and get carried away with it, the result of it all being a finished first draft,” said Grant.