Student creators prepare for Scholastic awards ceremony

Kristine Lin, Managing Editor

Several writers and artists from Palo Alto High School will be attending the 100th Annual Scholastic Art and Writing national awards ceremony tomorrow at Carnegie Hall in New York. The Paly Voice asked the select few about their reflections on winning.

“Hatching A Plan”

A yellow chick peeks out of an egg carton, one of many graphics created by freshman Charlotte Anthony for her short film “Hatching A Plan,” which won a gold award in the Film & Animation category of the 100th Annual Scholastic Art and Writing contest. Anthony said her film tells the fictional story of a young bird making his way in the world. “He goes on an adventure to try to discover his place in the world and find friends,” Anthony said. “‘Hatching A Plan’ is inspired by feelings of loneliness during the pandemic and rediscovering where you belong.” (Photo: Kristine Lin)

Freshman Charlotte Anthony won the gold medal in the Film & Animation category for her short film, “Hatching A Plan.” Anthony said she was overjoyed to find that she had won.

“I am excited and honored to be awarded a gold medal,” Anthony said. “It’s especially exciting because this year is the 100th anniversary of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. I honestly wasn’t expecting to get this as a freshman.”

“Hatching A Plan” details the light-hearted, impactful adventures of a young bird leaving and rejoining his community. Anthony said she drew inspiration from her own experiences during the pandemic, as well as from other animated films.

“In ‘Hatching a Plan,’ an egg in a grocery store egg carton hatches, and the baby chick goes on a mission to find a friend and discover his place in the world,” Anthony said. “A lot of how this baby bird is feeling is a reflection of how it felt to stay away from loved ones during the pandemic and the struggles of returning to society and discovering where you belong. I tried to draw inspiration from my life and also from watching animated films and TV shows.”

The film was recognized by several other organizations, including the Austin Film Festival, the Princeton Student Film Festival, the Boston Children’s Film Festival and the Luminescence Teen Film Festival. According to Anthony, she hopes she will inspire deeper connections between the viewer and the film’s characters. 

“I like to tell stories through my art,” Anthony said. “I hope that by sharing my film with others, I can make someone feel more understood.”

Attending the awards ceremony will also be an opportunity to meet other student creators, Anthony said.

“I’m hopefully going to get to meet other filmmakers and artists, which I’m really excited about,” Anthony said.

Freshman River Wu’s gold medal-winning oil pastel, “MEAT,” references the issues within the meat industry and the insensitivity of meat eaters, according to Wu. (Photo: River Wu)


Freshman River Wu’s four-paneled oil pastel “MEAT” received the gold medal in the Drawing & Illustration category. Although the piece can be left up to the viewers for interpretation, Wu said “MEAT” also addresses the issues and experiences of eating meat.

“[The artwork reflects] the feeling you get when you’re eating any type of meat,” Wu said. “Instead of tasting poultry or beef or pork, it just starts tasting like flesh. Also, [the piece represents] how the farm industry treats animals very terribly, that [the animals] are being slaughtered.”

Wu said she is looking forward to attending the awards ceremony, primarily because of the location.

“I’m excited because I’ve been to New York one other time, so I’m excited to see other places [in] New York,” Wu said.

“Not-So Irrational”

Junior Renny Argast also took home a gold medal in the Drawing & Illustration category. Argast said her charcoal art “Not-So Irrational” reflected memories from her childhood.

Junior Renny Argast’s “Not-So Irrational” charcoal piece was inspired by her own childhood memories, Argast said. (Photo: Renny Argast)

“It was a reference to when I was younger, I had a fear that an animal or monster was going to break into my room and eat me,” Argast said. “My piece shows my childhood bedroom and a monster encroaching on that.”

Argast said her artistic choices were made to forge a deeper connection between the viewer and her younger self.

“It’s in this very low perspective, because I wanted it to be from the perspective of a child to show it was a childhood fear,” Argast said. “It’s all in charcoal, and black-and-white.”

According to Argast, she had no expectations going into the contest.

“I was really surprised, to be honest; I did not expect that [receiving the gold medal] at all,” Argast said. “I’m really happy about it.”

The Scholastic contest is also an opportunity for writers and artists to shine and showcase their talent, Argast said.

“It’s very empowering for artists because sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of recognition to be had,” Argast said. “So the fact that they have these national awards and these regional awards, I think it’s really cool.”

Argast said she encourages more people to participate in the contest, as it is a memorable experience.

“I think everyone should submit work—there’s no harm in it, and then when you win an award, it just feels really awesome,” Argast said.

According to Argast, she hopes to participate in the contest next year, as she looks forward to winning more prizes.

“They [the Scholastic contest] do this really cool scholarship for seniors, [where] you can submit a portfolio and get $12,000 when you win,” Argast said. “I’m definitely going to submit one next year, [since] it’s super easy and it’s really fun.”

More information about the upcoming ceremony can be found on the Scholastic website.