Five Nebraska students recognized by National Scholastic Writing Awards

National writing award recipients have been announced for the  Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and five students from Nebraska have been named National Medalists. The students will receive national medals as part of the country’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7-12. Hastings College is the Nebraska affiliate of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

At the state awards ceremony held at Hastings College in February, seven students learned their work would be sent on to the national competition for consideration.

“This national recognition of five of our award recipients is a testament to the creative talents and efforts of Nebraska’s young people,” said Dr. Eleanor Reeds, Hastings College assistant professor of English.” We’re eager to continue promoting and celebrating our state’s emerging writers through this exciting program.”

Students receiving national awards are listed alphabetically below:

  • Olivia Achtemeier of Beatrice, in Science Fiction & Fantasy winning a Silver Medal.
  • Daisy Friedman of Omaha, in Poetry, winning an American Voices Medal and Gold Medal.
  • Emma Mirnics of Omaha, in Short Story, winning a Silver Medal.
  • Ellen Pan of Lincoln, in Personal Essay & Memoir, winning a Silver Medal.
  • Jingming Yu of Lincoln, in Poetry, winning a Gold Medal.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, National Medalists will be honored during a virtual celebration on June 4. All National Medalists are eligible for additional opportunities, such as inclusion in the Art.Write.Now.Tour traveling exhibition, and in The Best Teen Art and The Best Teen Writing anthologies. National Medalist poets are considered for the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for young poets presenting original work.

Last fall, students age 13 and above from all 93 counties of Nebraska were invited to submit original work in any of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards’ writing categories, including flash fiction and poetry.

Works were judged by a panel of Hastings College faculty, staff and students. Hastings College held a regional awards ceremony in February to recognize 18 young writers from across Nebraska. Gold Key and American Voices Nominee pieces then advanced to the national level for adjudication by a panel of leading creative professionals.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program was established in 1923 and has fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including distinguished alumni Tschabalala Self, Stephen King, Kay WalkingStick, Charles White, Joyce Carol Oates and Andy Warhol, all of whom received recognition in the Awards when they were teens.

Submissions will open again this fall for the 2021 awards.

Hastings College is Nebraska’s premier private college. A four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement, Hastings’ student-centered initiatives include providing books, an iPad and a two-week study away experience at no additional cost. A block-style semester schedule allows professors and students to focus on fewer classes at a time and promotes hands-on experiences. Discover more at

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