Kollyne Thomas, Sasha DeSilva join legacy of celebrated authors with winning entries in the Scholastic Awards

Kollyne Thomas

Kollyne Thomas ‘16 is constantly searching for the perfect connection of words.  A voracious reader amongst a bevy of readers in her family, Kollyne’s love for literature helped mold her into her current status as a meticulous writer. Since the time she could hold a pencil, Kollyne’s evolution as a wordsmith has moved from the short story realm into the world of poetry.

Such devotion has led her down the path of “metaphors and similes that have helped shape” her life as a writer. Thus, her recent work entitled “Motel,” a string of three poems written at different stages of her life about teen love, has been recognized with a Gold Key in the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Kollyne was one of four Gold Award recipients for poetry recognized in Florida in this year’s competition, the regional division of a national program dedicated to honoring and exhibiting exceptional works by students in grades 7 through 12. The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers (the Alliance), which has been running the competition since 1923, received a record-breaking 320,000 works of art and writing for adjudication at the regional level in 29 categories, which include interests like short story, drawing, poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, and video game design.

The Awards have highlighted the work of millions of students over the years, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become brilliant in their respective field like Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, and Lena Dunham.

“We are always astonished by the sheer energy and ingenuity of the creative work that students produce, and by their bravery in putting it into the world for feedback from arts professionals,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. “We hear from Alumnae of the program every single day that receiving a Scholastic Award is life-changing, and we are thrilled to give that opportunity to talented students from across the country again this year.”

The Alliance will honor national winners during a special ceremony at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 1, according to Michael Barrett, Senior Publicist for Scholastic, Inc.

“It’s unbelievable to be part of an illustrious group like Truman Capote, Stephen King, and Lena Dunham,” said Kollyne, who has been attending Farragut since kindergarten. “I didn’t really know what to expect when I entered the poem so when I found out I had received the Gold, I was ecstatic.”

Kollyne, who helped start the poetry club three years ago with former Farragut student Sara Graves and fellow Scholastic Award winner Sasha DeSilva, said a large reason for her development as a writer stemmed from the fact her family “constantly has a book in their hands.”

“I can hardly recall a moment in the past when my family wasn’t reading a book,” said Kollyne, whose three siblings graduated from Farragut. “It’s interesting because now we all have our own little quirks. My oldest sister Kathryn ‘08 draws. Katryna ‘12 reads and then is incredible in the way she basically educates people simply through the conversations she has with them. My dad, Dr. Donald Thomas, and brother, Donald ‘11, are writers. I’m the poet. Mom, Peggy who is a nurse in Farragut’s infirmary, is the matriarch who basically keeps us all in order.”

In addition to Kollyne, Sasha received a Silver Award for “Boxes,” her work in poetry.

In total, the Alliance awards more than $250,000 in scholarships annually to top Awards recipients and their educators. The Alliance also partners with art institutes, colleges, and universities to earmark scholarships for college-bound Scholastic Awards recipients.

For those interested, here is Kollyne’s poem in full:


Check In

We hold hands so tight
It sometimes feels like if I let go
You’ll float away

As if God said
Our love
Would grow higher than the dandelions in a field of hope

Like he cast a spell on our future and said
Two hearts shall combine
For eternity

My heart a Motel
Beckoning for you to check in
And you, eager for a room

Like red roses our cheeks always blushed
Love drunk on fumes of passion
As if passion were the only thing needed in life
And you the oxygen I need to breathe

Loving you is dangerous
But I, a dare devil
Jumping all in
No need to test the water to see if it is right

Because I know with you
There is no right or wrong
You show me paths of life
That I would have never have noticed
If you hadn’t shown a flashlight

You know me like the back of your hands
Like cookies know milk
And Mothers know
Where all the lost things are

When gone away
I despise the depart

Who brings light into these dark eyes
Who’s smile infects everyone

Whose bravery as strong as a knights
Searches far and wide for a girls who’s feeling have been locked behind
Walls of pain


He called me beautiful as if
My name was too hard to remember

He called me it so often
I would tend to forget my actual identification

We would have fights about who loved who more
As if it was the only way to prove it

At twelve he would wake me and ask how I was
As if being without him for even a second was harmful

And it was
And he knew it
And he still knows it

His voice became my inner consciousness
I fell as if my life depended on it
And damn
I hoped he would catch me

My hands are puzzle pieces waiting for yours to complete mine
I can’t sleep because my pillows have become
Perfect impressions of your perfection

My phone never leaves my side in case you decide
Home is where you’d like to stay
And I’ll wait

I’ll wait because the only thing I’ve ever felt good at
Was loving you
And you can tell me that you’ve never loved me
But I’ll still keep the clothes you gave me, put them on and pretend it’s you

And I know that’s crazy, but I haven’t stopped crying
I will retrace memories until they shred to pieces
because I refuse to believe that
My moon will have another Sun

I just can’t let go of the first time you told me you were in love with me
As if it was clawing its way out of your chest and you couldn’t hold it back anymore

I need to wake up from this nightmare
But how do you do that when you’re not even asleep

It seems the Devil has come and ripped you away from me
And I’m stuck with your broken fragments

Please tell me you need me
You were my life line and I’m drowning

Don’t tell me to move on because I can’t just pack two year of memories
That takes time and I’m not ready

You were the first boy that made me feel like myself
And now I don’t know who I am

Don’t tell me I’ll be fine because how do you fix walls that are crumbling

You can’t spell beautiful without ‘ U ‘ in it
And I haven’t felt that way since

I still have gifts you’ve given me because
What if one day you’d come home

You called this home
You called us home

But now I’m feeling like a motel,
My vacancy sign calling your name and you took it

But when it became too real
You paid the bill and left

Now I am the one sitting in darkness
Replaying words I wish I’ve never said
Because maybe the right one’s would have made you stay

I’m tired of people telling me you aren’t my problem anymore
Because for once you were a problem I enjoyed solving

I used to think September twenty-second was just a date
A number defining how many days until October

But now it’s a sucker punch to the stomach
A constant reminder of everything,

A gut wrenching feeling
Attached to such an insignificant day

Do you remember
Standing by clothes I will never be able to afford

You asked me
To be yours

Five measly words turned whirlwind
Causing heartaches, laughter and late nights

Five words caused me to
Spill four words
That meant everything

And it ended
With six

I’m breaking up with you

It came so easily from your mouth
As if you rehearsed it

I know this wasn’t easy
But was it even worth it

Don’t tell me you’re sorry
When you don’t even mean it

I guess I’m just saying
I miss you

I miss you when I close my eyes
And imagine your arms wrapped around me

I miss you like the moon hates
Seeing the sunset

I miss you because
I’m having a terrible time

Piecing my life back together before you came
And made it such a goddamn beautiful affixation



I was drowning
Choking on a life that was never meant for me

You and I were like arsenic
Deadly and uncontrollable

I closed down my motel
Replaced the vacancy sign
With a proud lit one,

It reads
Under renovation

I fell in love
Too young
Too fast

And like most children
I forgot about myself

But no more
My calendar is full of opportunities

and September
Purgatory for October

I will remember the clothes
Too expensive and poor in taste

But will no longer buckle
In sadness over memories I cannot change

I sleep now in impressions
And dream of a future that I control

I live positively
Knowing that all I have done

And all that I will be
Is because I live on my own terms
Plaster filling the holes in the wall

I’ve realized that I am not a jigsaw puzzle
But a mural of mistakes and accomplishments