Enjoy the “Différance” at the Arizona Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony

Young Authors of Arizona (YAA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit and Arizona’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards affiliate, thanks volunteers and attendees for making our 2017 Arizona Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony on April 29th a special event. Thanks, Arizona, for the memories, and here’s a preview for the 29th.

Adjudication for State of Arizona entries in Art and Writing is complete and all honorees–honorable mention, Silver Keys, Gold Keys, American Voices, American Visions–are now posted. Congratulations, 2017 Arizona Scholastic Art & Writing Awards honorees!

Click to see all 2017 Scholastic Art Awards honorees.

Click to see all 2017 Scholastic Writing Awards honorees.

RSVP (or, just show up and we’ll still give you your award) through this link: 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony RSVP.

All honorees should have been e-mail invited–families, teachers, and administrators welcome, too–for the April 29th Ceremony. For those that haven’t,  are invited to the April State of Arizona Awards ceremony.

Ceremony welcome

Lobby doors open at 5:30 pm and Auditorium doors open at 6:00, planned ceremony start at 6:30. Entering through the east parking lot entrance of Desert Mountain High School (DMHS), 12575 E Vía Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, attendees will first check in at the registration table.

Each honoree will receive his or her envelope with certificates, two teacher pins, any Gold Key or Silver Key pins, and an invitation to the YAA-Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) Author Camp and organizational planning retreat June 26th – 29th. Attendees may hang out in the lobby and once the Auditorium doors open at 6:00, they’re welcome to find their seats.

For ceremony seating, it’ll be first come, first seated with a request that all grade 7-12 honorees sit together in the front rows.

Ceremony overview

With curtain drawn at the DMHS auditorium in Scottsdale, at approximately 6:30 pm YAA Board Member, DMHS English Teacher, and Scottsdale Community College English Composition Professor Kevin Sheh will welcome the crowd and introduce DMHS’s Grace Gay, YAA’s 2016-2017 YAA Student Committee leader.

Grace, our emcee, will say “Hello!” and then pass the mike to BASIS Scottsdale’s Kimy Lecamwasam, 2017 Scholastic Writing Awards Writing Portfolio Gold Key (Arizona) and Silver Medal (National) honoree. An emerging singer-songwriter that “grew up on Bob Dylan,” Kimy will perform, “Calling Out My Name” with lines like these:

I can see the mountains rising through the breath of winter smoke
And the air is clear of promises that I broke
Though I swore that I would hold on, that I would never change
Feel the Earth rumbling below me, something’s calling out my name . . .

Thereafter, Grace will share the history of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, highlighted by a video-recorded congratulations from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, himself a 1974 Scholastic Writing Awards honoree.

With families and friends smiling, Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) English Composition Professor and YAA Best Arizona Teen Writing book critical essay section editor Dr. David Pegram will read names to honor approximately “Young Authors of Arizona,” grade 7-12 artists and writers, stepped onstage to receive their 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Honorable Mention, Silver Key, Gold Key, Silver Medal, Gold Medal, American Visions, and American Voices certificates.

YAA will then present a special slideshow recognizing Arizona’s combined national medal-winning art and writing pieces, American Visions nominees, and American Voices nominees. Congratulations also to YAA authors that won multiple national medals, notably University High School’s Alexandra Karaim in Tucson (three medals).

The keynote speaker, acclaimed YA author Suzanne Young, will deliver a speech on the ceremony theme of “Differance.”

As Speak eAZy: Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2017 Student Editor, Gerchick is pleased to unveil the book concept.   Grace, who helped choose North High School senior Michael Carraaco’s drawing and illustration Silver Key work “Blame it on the Alcohol” for the cover art, will describe how Carraaco’s piece helps capture the book’s ethos. She’ll also highlight excerpts from some of the book’s written works. It’s notable that book authors will be notified of publication selections by mid-May and that the book itself will be published by the end of June.

YAA President, Metro Tech High School English Teacher, and Phoenix College English Composition Professor Billy Gerchick will then share YAA’s 2016-2017 year-in-review and make a call for increased organizational involvement, focused on the June 26-29th organizational retreat in Phoenix at PVCC in conjunction with Author Camp.

Grace Gay then will close the ceremony, welcoming our young authors (artists and writers) to get involved in YAA’s 2017-2018 campaign, starting by signing up for the June planning retreat.


From 7:30 – 8:30, honorees and their families, mentors, supporters, and friends enjoyed the evening’s reception in the school lobby, enjoying home-made tamales, light refreshments, and delicacies. Special thanks to DMHS, and other student volunteers!

Needing increased volunteer, YAA looks forward to supporting Arizona language and media arts through YAA involvement from May of 2017 – April of 2018″ towards the bottom of this page for more campaign details.

YAA also answered questions about upcoming planning, events, publications, and 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards participation. Of note, Paradise Valley Community College English’s Dr. David Pegram was on-hand to answer questions about the June 26-29 YAA-PVCC Author Camp for Fall 2017 grade 9-12 writers.

While YAA’s Speak eAZy: Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2017 won’t be available until the end of June, Shine books still available online through Amazon.com; all proceeds help YAA support Arizona language and media arts.


Sign up for 2017 Young Authors Camp

This camp allows students in grades 9 through 12 to engage with writing in various genres and forms. From fiction to poetry, students are encouraged through hands-on activities facilitated by published author-faculty that stimulate and grow the student artist. Date/Time: M-Thurs 9:00AM – 3:00PM (June 26-29)
Go to: June 26-29 YAA-PVCC Author Camp to register.
Location: PVCC – KSC 1000B
Cost: $100.00

For more information, contact: ryan.stone@paradisevalley.edu or david.pegram@paradisevalley.edu

YAA needs adult and teen volunteers from May of 2017 – April of 2018

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Young Authors of Arizona (YAA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, encourages Arizonans to mentor grade 7-12 Arizona students to participate in the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. YAA is also …

Each year, YAA must raise at least $10,000 to perform the above-stated functions for Arizona youth language and media arts. With over 1,700 middle schools and high schools in Arizona, as well as many more libraries, galleries, businesses, and community centers, YAA seeks to involve more Arizonans through our 2017-2018 outreach campaign, with the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as the scope and centerpiece for our growth.

Please take the YAA involvement survey and donating (tax-deductible PayPal link at right) to support Arizona language and media arts!

Buy Shine: Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2016 

Last April marked the official marked the release of YAA’s Shine: Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2016 book, an anthology of 87 works by 58 grade 7-12 Arizona authors. Please support our authors by purchasing a book copy (click link above), available for $15 with all proceeds going to YAA, a 501(c)(3) focused on supporting Arizona language and media arts.

Speak eAZy: Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2017 will be released by the end of June; published authors will be notified of work selections by mid-May.



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