For the past decade, the Boise State Writing Project has sponsored the Idaho Scholastic Writing Awards. The awards recognize work by young writers in secondary school across a range of genres.
Fellows in the Boise State Writing Project, under the leadership of Nic Darlington, have acted as mentors for the student writers and served as judges in the competition, said Jeffrey Wilhelm, a professor of English Education, Distinguished Professor of Boise State University, and director of the Boise State Writing Project.
Support for the Idaho Scholastic Writing Awards aligns with the mission of the Boise State Writing Project to help teachers support their students in all areas of learning with a special emphasis on literacy and writing, Wilhelm explained. It also helps fulfill the project’s mission of engaging with the community beyond campus.
In the recent competition, more than 300 students submitted their work. Boise State hosted an awards assembly for the winners in February. Judges chose winners based on originality, technical skill and emergence of a personal voice. The ceremony featured a keynote speech by writer Kim Cross, an adjunct instructor of creative writing at Boise State.
The student winners went on to compete at the national level in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
Five young Idaho writers earned national medals: Lyssa Bivens from Post Falls High in Post Falls, a gold medal in humor; Colin Smith from North Junior High in Boise, a silver medal in poetry; Fiona Van De Graff from Riverstone International in Boise, a gold medal in science fiction and fantasy; Jieyan Wang from Moscow High in Moscow, two gold medals and an American Voices medal in poetry and writing portfolio; Jack Zuckerman from Boise High in Boise, a silver medal in poetry.
“A core belief is that writing is a unique and powerful way of coming to understand and of knowing, or extending and exploring one’s mind and capacities,” said Wilhelm. “So we engage in activities like this to help students outgrow themselves and to become their best possible selves through the writing process.”