MSMS students receive Scholastic Art & Writing Awards


17 MSMS students were awarded a total of 60 awards the Scholastic Art and Writing Regional Awards. Among them, senior Faith Bradford received a nomination for the highest regional honor, American Voices Medal.

Hailee Sexton, Staff Writer

MSMS students are excelling in the humanities as much as STEM.

The Eudora Welty Foundation announced on Feb. 28, the regional winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, including 60 different awards presented to 17 MSMS students.

Founded in 1923, The Eudora Welty Foundation presents the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards each year as a prestigious competition for artists and writers in high schools across America, and students have the opportunity to submit works to receive a variety of awards.

One of the categories of winners is those receiving the Gold Key award for their submissions. The pieces awarded with the Gold Key are the best in the regional awards, and they are considered for national awards. Six MSMS students – Faith Bradford, Blake Cheater, Vidhi Patel, Gracie Rowland, Shelby Tisdale and Muneebah Umar – all received Gold Key Awards for their writing submissions.

“Getting two gold keys was a huge honor for me,” Umar said. “I don’t think anyone enters the competition expecting to get a gold, but I put a lot of effort into everything I submitted. It’s very exciting for my pieces to get recognized like this.”

Patel submitted many pieces from her creative writing class with Thomas Richardson, winning the judges over with her childhood experiences. 

“Going into the competition, I didn’t expect to win anything,” Patel said. “So, I was surprised when I checked my email and found out I got a key, let alone a Gold Key. Most of my writing I submitted were pieces I had already written for the creative writing class, but I edited them a lot before sending them off. Both of the pieces I wrote about were pretty personal; they were about how I grew up being a second-gen immigrant, and I hold those experiences very close to me.”

Senior Faith Bradford, along with winning a Gold Key award, was one of five nominees for the American Voices Medal, which is the highest regional honor in the competition.

“After viewing a classmate’s Snapchat story that indicated the writing awards came out, I hurried to log into my portal. Listed were five awards: a Silver Key for poetry, a Silver Key for memoir, an honorable mention for poetry, a Gold Key for science fiction & fantasy, and the most prestigious of all, an American Voices Nominee,” Bradford said. “I was in total shock to get this honor; never have I imagined that I would receive one of five nominations for the region.”

All other regional winners in the multitude of categories offered in the competition will receive certificates. 

“As always, I’m incredibly impressed with the work our student writers have produced,”  Richardson, the educator for the writing submissions, said. “This year, students faced many obstacles with distance learning and tighter scheduling that did not allow for as much access to elective classes like Creative Writing and Journalism; therefore, while many of the award-winning pieces arose from workshops, quite a few others made it into the world simply from the student’s pure will.”

In the art category of the competition, five MSMS students – Faith Bradford, Elena Eaton, Taylor Wypyski, Amy Zhang and Amanda Zhou – submitted works, and Zhang and Zhou both received the prestigious Gold Key Award. 

“I created a lot of art pieces this year, especially being in quarantine,” Zhou said. “So, I was excited to see what the judges thought of my work. I was a bit nervous because I really challenged myself with different techniques and compositions, so I am really glad to get these good results.”

Zhang described her winning art piece, which was inspired by her opinion on overspending by politicians on campaigns, as out of her comfort zone; however, it turned out to be an accomplishment she’s very proud of.

“I’m really proud that my hard work paid off,” Zhang said. “This was my first time doing a digital drawing, so it was a very tedious process of trial and error, but I eventually found my style.”

Andy Snyder, the instructor for art submissions, saluted the victors: “I am extremely happy about our students winning these awards and our representation at the Exhibition in Jackson,” he said. “It is no small feat receiving the Gold and Silver Keys, and the students that received them should be very proud. The classroom is currently an extremely different environment, and with a good number of students working from home, the work they are producing is amazing. ”


MSMS Scholastic Art & Writing Winners


  • Faith Bradford, SR
    • Science Fiction/Fantasy – American Voices Nominee, Gold Key
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Silver Key
    • Poetry – Silver Key, Honorable Mention
    • Art – Silver Key
  • Shelby Tisdale, SR
    • Senior Portfolio – Silver key
    • Poetry – 4 Gold Keys, 4 Silver Keys, Honorable Mention
    • Short Story – Silver Key
    • Flash Fiction- Silver Key, Honorable Mention
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Honorable Mention
  • Jaylin Jones, SR
    • Senior Portfolio – Honorable Mention
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – 3 Silver Keys
    • Poetry – Honorable Mention
  • Blake Cheater, SR
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Gold Key
    • Flash Fiction – Silver Key
    • Poetry – 2 Silver Keys
    • Science Fiction/Fantasy – Silver Key
  • Muneebah Umar, SR
    • Critical Essay – 2 Gold Keys
    • Critical Essay – Silver Key
    • Journalism – Honorable Mention
  • Gracie Rowland, SR
    • Flash Fiction – Gold Key
    • Flash Fiction – Silver Key
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – 2 Silver Keys
    • Poetry – 1 Silver Key, 2 Honorable Mentions
  • Emma Spinks, JR
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Silver Key
    • Poetry – Silver Key, Honorable Mention
  • Amanda Zhou, JR
    • Poetry – Honorable Mention
    • Art – 2 Gold Keys, 1 Silver Key, 2 Honorable Mentions
  • Amy Zhang, JR
    • Humor – Silver Key
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Silver Key
    • Art – Gold Key
  • Vidhi Patel, JR
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Gold Key
    • Poetry – Silver Key
  • Luke Bowles, SR
    • Journalism – 4 Silver Keys
  • Nicholas Djedjos, JR
    • Journalism – 2 Silver Keys
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – 2 Silver Keys
  • Vineeth Vanga, JR
    • Journalism – Silver Key
  • Raeed Kabir, JR
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Silver Key
  • Leslie Lewis, SR
    • Poetry – Silver Key
    • Science Fiction/Fantasy – Silver Key
  • Mason Petit, SR
    • Personal Essay/Memoir – Silver Key
  • Jessica Yan, JR
    • Critical Essay – Silver Key
  • Elena Eaton, JR
    • Art – 1 Silver Key, 3 Honorable Mentions
  • Taylor Wypyski, JR
    • 1 Silver Key, 2 Honorable Mentions