Two Upper School students win regional Scholastic Writing awards for poetry

Please congratulate Kathryn Greene ‘18 and Sam Nolin ‘18 for winning two regional awards for their poetry in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition initiative for creative teens across the country in grades 7-12 with 29 different categories to submit work into.

“In the last four years we have had 38 students win regional awards and 2 win national awards,” said Upper School English teacher Heather Ewing, who has been teaching English for 10 years at Admiral Farragut Academy and 18 years total.

“Kathryn and Sam are both wonderful writers that are able to use inspiration from their lives in a unique way that connects with their audience,” continued Mrs. Ewing. “I was not surprised that their pieces of writing resonated with the judges because, although they wrote about totally different topics, their pieces tapped into the human experience in an extremely vivid way.”

The Awards have fostered creativity and talent since 1923 for millions of students and feature a notable list of alumni recipients including Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, and Andy Warhol, and more recently, Richard Linklater and Zac Posen.

All works are evaluated through blind adjudication first on a regional level by more than 100 local affiliates of the Alliance and then nationally by an impressive panel of creative-industry experts. This past year’s group of distinguished jurors included graphic novelist Art Spiegelman; authors Elissa Schappell, Daniel José Older, and Naomi Jackson; artist Mickalene Thomas; and film producer Michael Raisler. At each level of judging, all works are selected to move on to the next stage based on the same criteria that have represented the program since its founding in 1923: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice.

Kathryn, a senior and 7-day boarding student from Maryland, wrote two poems, one called “Hope” and the other called “Always By Your Side”. Although Kathryn has been writing since she was eight years old this was the first time she had ever entered her writing into a competition.

“Mrs. Ewing is a great teacher and has motivated and encouraged me to open up and write more,” said Kathryn, who is also a member of Mrs. Ewing’s Poetry Club.

Kathryn’s first poem called “Hope” was written in reflection to her father leaving and how that impacted the way she carries herself, her mindset, and her love life today.

Her second poem called “Always By Your Side” is about her little brother who has down syndrome. During her poem, she expresses her experience growing up with him and witnessing how he has always been treated differently. “To me, this poem is about spreading the word about how those who have down syndrome should be treated,” said Kathryn. “They deserve respect just like everyone else.”

Sam, a senior, day student, and Bravo Battalion Commander who is in his fourth year at Farragut, also wrote two poems, one called “Chiraq” and the other called “The Policeman’s Son”. Click here to read them.

“I was inspired to write ‘Chiraq’ because half of my family lives in Chicago which is also the murder capital of the U.S.,” explained Sam. “Every time I visit I happen to see something go down, usually with gangs,” continued Sam. “It’s ironic because Illinois has the strictest gun laws in the U.S. Then when I did the math and learned that more people have been killed in Chicago than Iraq. So I combined the word for this poem.”

Sam’s second poem called “The Policeman’s Son” is written from experience. “My dad was a police officer for 31 years. He’s worked with SWAT, narcotics, and the gang unit. In 2011 two of my dad’s colleagues were killed right in front of my father in St. Pete. It worried me to think that could’ve been my dad,” said Sam. Although Sam is from a long line of police officers, his father, brother, grandfather, and great uncle all served, he is already enlisted in the Marine Corps. “For years I have volunteered with the police in a program similar to JROTC, and I am excited to serve now in the military.”