30 Archer students recognized in Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards


Photo credit: Celeste Ramirez

Art pieces hang on the art hallway walls. Thirty Archer students were recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious national program for teens in grades seven to 12.

Every year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recognizes teens in grades seven to 12 for “works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision,” according to the official website. This year, 30 Archer students spanning grades eight to 12 received either a gold key, silver key or honorable mention award.

“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12,” photography teacher Marya Alford wrote in an email congratulating the recognized students. “This year Archer students received twelve gold key awards.  All Gold Keys have moved forward to national judging in NYC for consideration of a national honor award.”

In the national competition, eighth grader Chloe Chu received a national silver medal in photography, and sophomore Jacqueline Marks received a national silver medal in sculpture.

The Oracle sat down with four of the 30 recognized students to learn more about their art pieces.

Misha Mehta 

Senior Misha Mehta’s colored film photograph called “Going into the light, 20:00 hours.” Photo credit: Misha Mehta

Senior Misha Mehta received two honorable mentions for her photographs “Going into the light, 2000 hours” and “The Unknown.” Mehta said the last time she was recognized was in ninth grade, so being recognized this year “showed her how much she has grown.”

“I am at the highest level of photography at Archer, and being able to see that recognized in other people’s eyes is cool,” Mehta said. “Going into college, I hope to continue that.”

Mehta also said she developed her piece, “Going into the light, 2000 hours,” over the summer at an art program. The assignment was to make a piece based on an artist you are influenced by.

Photo credit: Misha Mehta
Mehta’s digital diptych called “The Unknown.” This photograph was hung at the Museum of Contemporary Art for the Teen Night Impermanent Collection.

“My favorite artist is Duane Michals, and he does these really cool photographs. I took one of his photographs that had his subject dressed very androgynously and near a window and had a lot of movement,” Mehta said. “I didn’t want to copy it exactly, so I took on a more feminine look to it and so I had my subjects wear flowy dresses to still get the movement.” 

Karis McCaskill

Senior Karis McCaskill submitted a ceramic portfolio called “Nature’s Elements” and received a gold key. The portfolio contained a thrown teapot set, a handmade coil vase, a thrown form and four pinch pots that used ceramic techniques like sgraffito. McCaskill said the portfolio followed a storyline of “earth and life formation,” and each piece had a specific role.

“This one [coil form ‘Day and Night] has a bit more meaning within itself. On one side of the vase is a sun, sgraffito was performed, and then there is fire that I drew in. I kind of put a mythical twist on it so phoenixes are fire related so that is why I put fire and burnt feathers on it,” McCaskill said. “Then, on the other side it’s a moon, and then there’s water, and a mermaid’s tail is coming out of the water. I was contrasting the two, like day and night or fire and water.”

Take a look at her portfolio below.

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Sophia Crenna

Senior Sophia Crenna submitted to the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards for the first time this year and was awarded a silver key for her film “Contamination.”

“It was exciting,” Crenna said. “I feel like film is really hard to judge because it can be more subjective, especially if it’s experimental, so it was nice that [my film] resonated with someone else.”

Crenna shot this experimental short film this summer and described it as a self-portrait about how the media influences her thoughts.

“I shot it digitally, but I also incorporated footage of Super 8 film that I painted over,” Crenna said. “Then I projected it and filmed it being projected so that throughout the film there are flashes of color that was made through paint. It’s a film, but it’s also mixed media.”

Watch her film below.

Martha Castro

Freshman Martha Castro received an honorable mention for her film “Summer in a Day.” This was one of her first projects in her Introduction to Film class.

I wasn’t really expecting to get anything,” she said. “When I found out I got an honorable mention I kind of felt really proud of myself, especially because I put so much thought into it. It was a lot of emotion, too.” 

The assignment was to base the film on an emotional moment. For Castro, an emotional moment was leaving behind the summer of 2019.

“It was a really good summer, and I had done a lot of things. In my film I included going to the beach, going to Universal and a bunch of different places that were really fun” Castro said. “I put in my film a really weird shot where it was me on a swing, and I was in my uniform that meant I was waking up from a dream that I had envisioning summer.” 

Watch her film below.

Check out this list of all Archer recipients.