Beginning as Scholastic Writing Awards affiliate

Since 2012, YAA has facilitated the Scholastic Writing Awards in the state of Arizona. All entry fees go to paying YAA’s affiliate fee with the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, hosting our annual spring awards ceremony, and extending community outreach for future years. Working pro-bono, we encourage young authors.

First three years

Thanks to individuals and sponsorship from the Arizona English Teachers Association (AETA), in 2012 YAA became Arizona’s first Scholastic Writing Awards affiliate in Awards’ history. Our inaugural year enjoyed grade 7-12 students from Bullhead City to Phoenix to Tucson blazing the authorship trail with 200-plus Scholastic Writing Awards entries. Scottsdale’s Coronado High School hosted the spring ceremony and Valley poets Tomas Stanton and Myrlin Hepworth wowed the crowd. Five Arizona authors earned invites to Carnegie Hall in May and 14-year old Haley Lee became Arizona’s first American Voices Medal winner. Haley’s poem, “They Are the Patriots,” earned publication in the national Best Teen Writing of 2012 book.

2013 saw entries increase with the spring ceremony hosted at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, featuring a Skype chat with acclaimed author Jessica Brody. Beyond YAA recognition, six young authors of Arizona earned invites to the national ceremony. Haley Lee repeated as our American Voices Medal winner and two works earned publication in the national Best Teen Writing of 2013 book: Lee’s poem “Expanding” and 13-year old Gloria Martinez’s science fiction/fantasy story “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.”

2014 saw even more entries, necessitating a bigger venue for the spring ceremony: Mountain View High School in Mesa. At the national level, eight Arizona entries earned invitations to Carnegie Hall and 14-year old Nicole Dominiak earned the Arizona’s American Voices Medal for her short story “Gifts, Ghosts, and God.” But some key precedents and organizational growth have truly made this a year of, well, “bloom” for YAA.

YAA emerging as a non-profit

Focused on responsibly growing, now YAA is a State of Arizona non-profit organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Without limiting ourselves, YAA is now positioned to:

  1. Conceive, develop, implement, sponsor, and maintain progress in all aspects of language and media arts, which will advance the interests of and provide the incentive for the growth and appreciation by the public of language and media arts in Arizona and beyond.
  2. Undertake projects that will encourage and assist young authors and young-author advocates by helping them achieve standards of excellence and bringing these projects before the public.
  3. Strengthen scholarship, research, creative work, publication, exhibition, and performance in language and media arts throughout Arizona and beyond.

Your help to “Bloom!” from May 2014 – May 2015

YAA has grown quickly and in 2014-2015, looks to keep advancing language and media arts for young authors of Arizona. As mentioned earlier, our state has over 1400 middle schools and high schools, combined, and many more home schools. Starting in May of 2014, YAA’s “Bloom!” outreach campaign seeks to involve more Arizonans with the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as the scope and centerpiece for our growth. We welcome “Bloom!” involvement as follows:

  1. Professional language and media arts leaders—teachers, librarians, sponsors, luminaries—to support us by purchasing and enjoying Bloom: Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2014.
  2. Students, educators, and parents to volunteer as outreach leaders to help—in specific counties, districts, and professional communities—students enter the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards by December 17, 2014.
  3. Business and civic leaders, volunteer educators and parents, and other supporters to forge financial partnerships with YAA to create scholarships, Awards participants and continue growing YAA.

If interested in partnering with YAA, e-mail youngauthorsofaz@gmail.com.

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