The Scholastic Writing Awards are among the most prestigious writing awards in the nation, and we are proud to submit writing to the contest each year. Receiving recognition for Scholastic Writing is not at all new to Klein. Historically, our percentage of winners is approximately 30%. In fact, we have students advance to the national level every year, and we have a history of national Gold Key winners.
But this year, something was different.
First, we submitted more entries than usual–a total of 415 individual entries and 6 senior portfolios. Inspired by our National Day on Writing activities, a video of students promoting writing, our Inaugural Scholastic Writing Workshop, and announcements sent directly to students by our dynamic Communications team, young writers in Klein recruited other writers. In some cases, these young writers pulled their teachers in, requesting their sponsorship without any prompting from the teacher. We also saw an increase in students reaching out to a larger writing community for feedback–district level personnel, teachers from other campuses, and peers they met at the Saturday workshop. The energy surrounding writing was magnetic as we prepared for contest submission.
Of course, entering 415 entries may yield a higher number of winners, but it does not automatically yield a high percentage of winners. We were taking a risk, but we were doing it because we believe in the power of writing authentically. We believe in writing community. We believe that writing is about so much more than passing a state test. And we believe that all students can learn to write well. So we encouraged students to work toward contest submission who had never seen themselves as writers. We encouraged them because they had something to say, something that should be honored and recognized, something beyond a class assignment. Given that we broadened the net and inspired many students to enter who never considered themselves “writers,” our percentage of winners could have gone down.
Only, the opposite happened.
Of the 421 entries submitted, 396 received recognition at the regional level: 104 Gold Key, 157 Silver Key, and 135 Honorable Mention. That means 94% of the entries submitted this year were recognized as award winning works, and 104 will advance to the national level. Beyond that, of the five students in the region nominated for American Voices, our very own Luke Stein of Klein Collins made the list for his critical essay, “Journalism: Intellectual Prostitution in Today’s Society.”
And that is something to celebrate.
For a full and sorted list of winners in Klein ISD, see our Klein Only Winners List. You may also want to check out the official announcement of regional winners on the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) site. Specific ceremony dates have not yet been released by HCDE, but we do know that the regional receptions and showcases will be held in March.