Photo by Dustin Lee

Gold Key Winner Heads to National Contest; Students Win 18 Awards

Colorado Academy students garnered 18 awards from the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in the West Region, including one Gold Key honor and five Silver Keys.  Gold Key winners are automatically submitted in the national competition, and winners of that round are announced in March. CA’s Gold Key winner is Darby Haskel for Novel Writing for a work titled Rookery. 

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of the nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated in both writing and art. Each year, increasing numbers of teens participate in the program—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 

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The Alliance is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. Students across America submitted nearly 320,000 original works during the 2016 program year across 29 different categories of art and writing.

CA’s other winners include:

  • Jordan Davidson, (Grade 8), winner of a Silver Key in Poetry (“Bubbles of Silence”), and an Honorable Mention in Science Fiction/Fantasy (“Starfall and Darkshed”).
  • Will Gerash, (Grade 9), is the winner of an Honorable Mention for Poetry (“Popsicles and High Tide”).
  • Trinity Goderstad, (Grade 12), won five awards altogether including Honorable Mentions for Personal Essay/Memoir, Writing Portfolio, and Poetry (“Paper Lanterns,” “Writing Hungry,” and “Teaching Woman,” respectively) and Silver Key awards for her Critical Essay, “How to Write Your Woman,” and for her Flash Fiction work titled “Primal Instincts.”
  • Madeline Gordon, (Grade 9), received an Honorable Mention for her Poetry titled “Papa.”
  • Lily Greenberg, (Grade 9), received three Honorable Mentions for her Poetry: “Book and the Journal,” “Box of Memories,” and “Frank.”
  • Darby Haskel, (Grade 10), received four honors including the Gold Key in Novel Writing, and both a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in Poetry for “House of the Rising Sun,” and “Ares and Aphrodite.” Haskel also received an Honorable Mention for his Short Story, “The Pale Horse.”
  • Genevieve Howard (Grade 9), has received an Honorable Mention for Poetry and her work titled “Ellie the Eager Girl,” and
  • Zoe Worrall, (Grade 8), won a Silver Key for the Science Fiction/Fantasy category and a piece titled “Alley Walkers.”

Excerpt from Chapter 2, The Rookery by Darby Haskel

Something hit the ground behind him. He spun around, and froze as a woman in red regarded him with a surprisingly fiery glare. His breath caught in his throat, his veins filled with crackling static. Sunlight, golden ambrosia, filled his body with energy. He let his fists tense, felt the searing potential of the fire inside.

She was beautiful, but not in a conventional way. A necklace, jet and huge, hung around her neck. Her face and jawline were triangular and incredibly sharp. Her robes went to the ground and then some, but seemed entirely unmuddied and void of dust. Her eyes were large, but in a snakelike way: slits that widened and were visible, but slits all the same. Long, black hair flowed past the small of her back and around her hips, large, lengthy curls adding volume to her robes.

Azriel realized he was standing on the plate. He didn’t believe a sliver of a god’s potential was hidden inside, that the plate could be used to liberate immense power, but there was something off about the metal, something in the way it hummed and thrummed like a beating heart, or a crossbow. He was standing towards the west, near where the demons in their grotesquerie called to the false star.

She didn’t approach, only stood there, just beyond the plate, by one of the mud-brick ruins. She had a cock-eyed smile on her face, one of arrogance and intelligence. Her eyes glittered, not like a snake’s crystals or human’s compassion, but like an insect, as if there were a thousand facets and each one was a singular sliver of color. She didn’t move, barely seemed to breathe.

Something shifted suddenly. It might’ve been the air, or the pyre, or the woman itself, but something had covertly changed. Azriel tensed up again, feeling the surge, and with all his will walked as slowly as possible to the eastern side of the plate. As he was doing so, he never turned his back on the woman. She seemed almost to follow him, getting closer to the pyre by an immeasurable amount.

Crossing north, something about her changed. Now, he was sure it was the woman changing. She became almost more archaic-looking, fuzzier and without the definition of before. He crossed all the way east, standing slightly north of the elegant arrow. Here, the comet itself seemed duller, and the woman closer. She almost looked like she was twitching or seizing, an indiscernible motion around her abdomen. Her robes, red and dull, seemed to take on a life of their own. He stopped, due east, and the woman seemed to stop too, regarding him with that smirk that seemed to grow more and more grotesque the longer he looked.

He blinked, and the woman was instantaneously closer. Not by much, but most certainly closer. Now it was obvious. She was moving without moving. Not daring to glance away completely, he scanned the plate, looking to the south, towards the engraved waters of the Immya. Quarran’s chariot rode above the water, the skeletal horses bent nearly backwards. The souls were leaping on in hordes, desperate to cross into the afterlife no matter if Hell, Heaven or Purgatory awaited them.

He crossed over the east and went south, careful to go slow. South was death and fear, but also truth and intelligence. Yrkyria and Zerioh both ruled here. He stepped towards the skeletal arrow. With him the woman shivered, the grin disappearing little by little. The eyes grew more pronounced, the robes taking on a shape. Her body seemed to be changing. If the robes were evidence of something underneath, then she couldn’t have been human; they were creating a figure where there would be none, could be none. Yet, somehow, with mere air, the robes billowed and started to push her towards the plate.

The sun was almost down, the surges in Azriel’s veins merely the afterimage of the day’s power. He was going to get weaker, faster.

He was almost south when the woman abruptly started coming towards him. It was the robes, creating a motion he could only describe as scuttling. The woman’s physique was morphing, her grin becoming wider with teeth starting to poke out of the pale skin, her hair swirling and turning her body black. The eyes started to sink, along with the mouth, while every other aspect of her visage seemed to come apart. It was as if her face were merely a guise.

He crossed quicker, hell-bent on getting to the southern apex, the point of absolute truth in the world. She kept coming, now slightly faster, but still slowly and haltingly. Now, the red woman had transformed, had become something else, something with more than two legs and a giant, black-red abdomen. The eyes sunk deeper and deeper, becoming more than two, splitting off. The teeth started to poke through, large and horizontal and black.

He reached south, and with it truth.

The red woman was not truly a woman, but a jorogumo. A spider.