Student Wins National Scholastic Writing Award

8th grader, Joshua Gordon, won a National Gold Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for his flash fiction story "For Civilization." His work was one of 300,000 submissions by more than 100,000 students in the middle and high school art and writing competition, which places his story in the top 1 percent in the country. His story will be published in Scholastic's online gallery.

His original creation is set in Colorado in 1864. This historical fiction piece is told from the perspective of a private in the cavalry that would carry out the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. In one brutal moment, the character evolves from faithful conviction in his mission to one of awakened horror and resolve. Click here to read the full story.

Jennifer Seward, one of Birchwood's language arts teachers, spoke of this outstanding accomplishment in this way, Joshua's talent as a young writer is formidable, and his grasp of the writing process is astoundingly mature. He fearlessly confronts the challenges of conceiving a worthy storyline, writing with precision, and revising without mercy. In this piece, Joshua's knowledge of history, storytelling prowess, and skill with language coalesce, which is no accident. He relentlessly practices his craft to improve.

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. Since 1923, awards have recognized and encouraged millions of students, including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol, and John Updike, who won when they were teens.

Flash Fiction entries are highly focused stories characterized by brevity and have a maximum of 1000 words.  The panelists chose their winning entries for originality, skill, and emergence of a personal vision or voice. Click here to see the complete list of student winners.