SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD-- Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School sophomore Tessa Going has been awarded a Silver Key Award by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization that reaches out to students pursuing art and writing. This organization provides scholarships and recognition to young people who might not be recognized for creative achievements in every classroom setting.

Going says she found out about this award in sixth grade from her mother who encouraged her to apply. Going received a Gold Key at the time after submitting a few of her poems the following year when she was of age to submit, which she says was a very exciting and honoring.

“It was so exciting to feel like somebody other than my mom actually thought I was talented,” said Going. “It serves as a kind of confirmation for me that I am good at something -- other people think so! It's not all in my head.”

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This year, Going’s submission was an original poem called ‘the brightest place in the world’. “It’s about a kitchen, my ideal kitchen, which I've had in my head for a long time,” says Going. “It sounds silly, but at some of the lower points of my life, that idea kept me going -- that one day, I would have my own house, be able to make my own decisions, have my own kitchen. To me, the poem represents hope.”

Going was first interested in poetry when around age 11 when she got a subscription to the literary magazine Cicada, which featured underground and alternative poets and writers. I was obsessed, that was the first time I realized how weird and cool and exciting poetry could be.

Cicada is no longer in print, but I still dig up the old issues to reread them because they continue to inspire me and remind me that poetry can be so many things!”

Going tells TAPinto SPF that the thing she enjoys most about writing poetry is the total freedom and lack of rules for what you can create.

“Writing poetry was the only part of my life that felt completely unrestricted. A poem can be one line or twenty volumes; it can be autobiographical or fantastical, literal or completely cerebral. It's amazing to feel like you have absolute creative control over something,” Going said.

While she is not sure what she aspires to do in the future, Going says poetry will always be with her, as a pastime and leisure and ideally, her profession.

“I honestly have no idea what I'm going to end up doing. I love writing, but I also love so much else about life. In a perfect world, I could be a poet, and a folk country singer, and an astronaut, and a cranberry farmer, and a truck driver, and everything else," she said. "I want to go down every pathway and know every story I can. Whatever I end up doing, though, I'll always be a poet. In my opinion, the only requirements are to love poetry and to want to make more of it.” 

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