Recipients of Nebraska Scholastic Writing Awards announced

Hastings College will recognize 24 outstanding young writers from across Nebraska as an affiliate of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards during a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m.

The Scholastic Writing Awards program is one of the country’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition programs for creative students in grades 7-12. This is the third year Hastings College has been an affiliate for the writing awards, and presented awards to young Nebraska writers.

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Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention works are available in a publication from Hastings College Press, “Best Nebraska Teen Writing 2022.”

During the virtual awards ceremony, Dr. Jonas Prida, Hastings College vice president for academic and student affairs, will emcee, and Marshall Highet will be the keynote speaker. Highet is a writer and adjunct in the Hastings College Department of Languages and Literatures. She published “Spare Parts,” a young adult sci-fi novel; “Hold Fast,” written with Bird Jones, a swashbuckling adventure based on historical facts; and her latest publication, “Blue-Eyed Slave,” also co-authored with Bird Jones.

“This was a very competitive year for the writing awards. We had more entries than in previous years, and the works were very good. There are many talented young writers in Nebraska,” said Dr. Patricia Oman, associate professor of English, director of the Hastings College Press and chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures. “The quality of work also shows in the awards, as we had more award recipients this year, and more Gold Key works, as well. We’re looking forward to recognizing the award recipients.”

To celebrate their hard work, Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention works will be available in a publication from Hastings College Press. The book, “Best Nebraska Teen Writing 2022,” plus certificates and other elements will be sent to all award recipients. Additional copies of the book are available for purchase.

For the nine students who received Gold Key awards, and in some cases multiple Gold Key awards, the opportunity for further recognition continues as their pieces will be sent to the national competition, where they will be judged by a panel of leading creative professionals.

Students from all 93 counties of Nebraska and age 13 and above are invited to submit original work in any of the Awards’ writing categories, such as flash fiction and poetry. Works are then judged by a panel of Hastings College faculty, staff and students.

Students receiving awards are listed alphabetically below.

  • Olivia Achtemeier of Beatrice; Poetry, Gold Key and two Silver Keys; Personal Essay & Memoir, Silver Key
  • Tanya Bachu of Omaha; Poetry, Honorable Mention; Critical Essay, Silver Key
  • Ashley Binstock of Wahoo; Science Fiction & Fantasy, two Gold Keys; Portfolio, Gold Key
  • Mary Blankenship of Omaha; Poetry, Honorable Mention and Silver Key
  • Ivy Block of Plattsmouth; Short Story, Honorable Mention
  • Victoria Bogatz of Bellevue; Poetry, Gold Key; Humor, Honorable Mention; Novel Writing, Silver Key
  • Katie Bough of Alda; Science Fiction & Fantasy, Silver Key
  • Anastasia Brock-Ondresky of Boys Town; Short Story, Honorable Mention
  • Gabrielle Burns of Gretna; Poetry, Silver Key
  • Ana Carson of Doniphan; Poetry, Silver Key
  • Tyler Catlin of Verdon; Novel Writing, Silver Key
  • Charlotte Coughlin of Ceresco; Short Story, Gold Key
  • Megan Lambert of Boys Town; Poetry, three Gold Keys, two Silver Keys and an Honorable Mention
  • Sky Lambrecht of Bellevue; Poetry, two Gold Keys
  • Kelley Lebahn of Fremont; Dramatic Script, Silver Key
  • Tristan McGill of Lincoln; Poetry, Gold Key
  • Aryanna Petty of Boys Town; Short Story, Silver Key
  • Anna Rogers of Hastings; Short Story, Silver Key
  • Sam Rogers of Hastings; Personal Essay & Memoir, Silver Key
  • Logan Sylliaasen of Wahoo; Science Fiction & Fantasy, Silver Key
  • Clarissa Tan of Lincoln; Personal Essay & Memoir, two Gold Keys
  • Benjamin VanDiest of Doniphan; Journalism, Silver Key
  • Lydia Vlcek of Chapman; Science Fiction & Fantasy, Honorable Mention
  • Chloe Waters of Sterling; Personal Essay & Memoir, Gold Key

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program was established in 1923 and has supported the creative 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.

Hastings College is 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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