Scholastic Art & Writing 2022 Contest results announced with flood of Spartan recognition



Ira Sharma (11) photographs a scene with leading lines using a black and white filter. This photo was named “Biology Department” after its location.

“Hard Headed” by Youheng Zheng (9) is a drawing of a hammer and nails placed on a wood surface. Zheng used graphite as his medium. (YOUHENG ZHENG//USED WITH PERMISSION)
Sunny Cui’s (10) second artwork “Kitchen Work” is depicted, showing various pots and pans. This drawing was made with white pencil on black paper. (SUNNY CUI//USED WITH PERMISSION)
“Kittymon Roll” is a play on the words kitty and cinnamon roll. Aaron Marin (10) used scratchboard to depict a cat rolled in a ball. (AARON MARIN//USED WITH PERMISSION)
“Touchscreen” by Sunny Cui (10) utilizes white colored pencil on black paper. This was one of two works made by Cui that was awarded with Gold Keys. (SUNNY CUI//USED WITH PERMISSION)

Students who submit their work in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards can receive three levels of recognition: Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention. This year, White Station High had the most winners in the contest with a total of 129 winning art pieces. After winning, these art pieces are displayed at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for a short period of time.  

Grade levels seven through 12 can submit their work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Spartan art teachers such as AP Studio Art teacher Charles Berlin consistently encouraged their art students to enter before the December deadline . 

“Mr. Berlin was like, ‘Hey, you should really enter your photography into the contest,’” Ira Sharma (11) said. “‘It’s a great opportunity. You might even make some scholarship money, and it looks really good on college applications.’ He really motivated me, and I knew some friends who were doing it. So I thought, ‘Why not?’”

Aaron Marin (10) takes Berlin’s fourth period Visual Arts II class. Marin won a Gold Key for his drawing called ‘Kittymon Roll’. The title is a combination of kitty and cinnamon roll inspired by how the cat is curled up in a ball. He used scratchboard to create this piece which is something he was not used to. 

“When you try a new medium, you think you are going to be bad at it,” Marin said. “But sometimes you end up doing good, so try new things.”

The art that can be submitted is not exclusive to drawing and painting. The contest includes sculptures, writing, fashion, animation, photography, jewelry, printmaking and much more. Sharma’s art piece, “Biology Department,” won an award in the photography category.

“[The photograph was actually of] a biology department,” Sharma said. “ My mom works there at the University of Memphis. I was walking around the building and thought it would be a cool little shot. I took a picture outside her window, and I went home and edited it.” 

Artists can enter multiple works at once and can win multiple awards, like Sunny Cui (10) who won two Gold Keys. One of Cui’s drawings is of pots and pans titled “Kitchen Work.” She used white colored pencil on black paper. The other drawing she submitted is called “Touchscreen.” It is a self portrait of her reflection in a laptop,using the same medium of white colored pencil and black paper. 

“[‘Kitchen Work’] took me about a week or so,” Cui said. “And then for the touchscreen one, it was a much larger piece, so it took me about two and a half weeks.”

Youheng Zheng (9) won a Gold Key for his artwork titled “Hard Headed.” Zheng takes 2D Art Design during Berlin’s third period and plans on participating in the contest again in 2023. He used graphite to draw a scene of a hammer and nails situated on a wooden background. The extensive amount of awards won by Spartan artists can be partly attributed to the dedication of Spartan art teachers in pushing their students to success. 

“Mr. Berlin, my art teacher, recommended [the contest] to me,” Zheng said. “I submitted three pieces. The one that got the Gold Key is called “Hard Headed”… Thank you to Mr. Berlin. I couldn’t have done it without him.”