Today I received my “Teacher” Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for having four students who won awards in the Western region for their personal essays. I have two students who won Gold Keys, the top award, and two who received Honorable Mentions, which is the equivalent of a bronze medal. In a contest with more than 330,000 art and writing submissions, the fact that any of my students receive any distinction at all feels like quite an honor.
In the letter I received today, Daniel Embree, the manager of the National Programs wrote, “William Butler Yeats said that ‘education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.’ Thank you for igniting the creative passion in your students.” I feel that I am the lucky one in this arrangement with my students. I have the privilege of working with these bright and creative teenagers and by sharing their ideas and writing with me, they help keep the creative passion alive in me.
I am pleased and honored to receive this award from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. My life is deeply enriched by my writing students, and I am unbelievably lucky to actually get paid to do work I would gladly do for free. Fingers are crossed for my Gold Key winners. We will learn on March 14 if their work will be honored at Carnegie Hall in NYC in June. That would be quite a treat indeed.