EMS 7th Grader Wins National Gold Medal

Into The Light - Sarah Abrahamsen, EMS '13

by Evan Brown
Director of Communications and Alumni

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have "an impressive legacy dating back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past winners including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates," according to its website.  The Elisabeth Morrow School is proud to add another name to this Award's storied history.  EMS seventh grader Sarah Abrahamsen (Hackensack, NJ) earned a 2012 National Gold Medal and the distinguished honor of Best In Grade (only 4 recipients receive this honor per grade level), with her photograph, Into The Light.  

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards fielded submissions from 200,000 students nationally, in 28 categories, from grades 7 to 12.  Only 1500 received Gold or Silver Medals.  In order to attain this high honor, students needed to achieve "Gold Key" recognition at the regional level. This year, The Elisabeth Morrow School had 6 artists and 1 writer receive Gold Keys:  along with Sarah; Erika Herman (7-Teaneck, NJ), Josh Lerner (7-Englewood, NJ), So Young Jang (8-Fort Lee, NJ), Annakatrina Zeidwig (8-Tenafly, NJ), Rene Spiewak (7-Englewood, NJ), and Annika Kim (7-Englewood Cliffs, NJ) sent work to the national competition.

Considering the number of applicants, attaining this level of success does not come easy.  Elisabeth Morrow's first Scholastic gold medalist Evan Goldstein '06 (now attending Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT) remembers the challenge of getting his poem ready for the competition:  "I rewrote the poem seven times, all with the help of Ms. Nicolaou.  Without her, and the support of the EMS Writing Club, I would never have known about the competition, let alone had an opportunity to win.  Ms. N taught me how to write well, but also showed me the value and beauty in writing, which goes beyond any one competition."
Elisabeth Morrow students have done particularly well at Scholastic. Just last year, Caroline Myers (Cresskill, NJ - now attending Linden Hall in Lititz, PA) and Lauren Park (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) received National Gold Medals.  In all, our school currently boasts 14 National Gold Medals over the past 6 years.  

Regarding this accomplishment, EMS teacher Lisa Nicolaou noted:  "Our success at EMS with Scholastic is a combination of many factors--A talented group of students, a supportive administration, the time we dedicate to writing here, and our (teachers) ability to motivate and nurture."  She also felt that the school's approach toward encouraging originality and imagination played a vital role:  "With our students, we want them to find a way in, to find their creativity.  We want them to be inspired and lead without being pushed.  We especially want this in middle school, at a time when they are trying to figure out who they are and what they believe in."  

Sarah Abrahamsen will join this select group of middle and high school students on June 1 for the National Medal Ceremony at Carnegie Hall.  As well, Ms. Abrahamsen's work will be on display with 500 other works of art and writing at the Art.Write.Now NYC Exhibition at Parsons The New School for Design. 

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