SPARTA, NJ – A Sparta High School student has received top recognition for his writings.  Simon Levien has earned five awards; two gold, one silver and two honorable mentions in the 2018 New Jersey Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. 

Currently a student in Jamie Barker’s English class, Levien’s Gold Key awards are automatically considered for national-level recognition according to the organization.  The Silver Key and Honorable Mentions will be submitted to other local programs for additional recognitions.

"The English Department is incredibly proud of Simon and the recognition he has received for his writing,” English Supervisor Mary Hassenplug said. “The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are the premier awards in the country for young writers. To be included among the best of the best is a tribute to the commitment, research, and critical thinking Simon has put into his work."

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“It is a great experience receiving awards in this competition,” Levien said, though he downplays the accomplishment.  He said many other high school students across the country received similar honors, “but I don’t think anyone else from Sussex County received recognition in this competition.”  

Levien’s submissions were:

  • Gold Key Critical Essay - Pat Toomey: Just Common Sense, Not Gun Control
  • Gold Key Critical Essay - The Need for CRISPER Education
  • Silver Key Poetry – TLC
  • Honorable Mention Poetry – Adulteress
  • Honorable Mention Personal Essay/Memoir – Moto Perpetuo

Five Gold Key submissions will be selected as the Best of Show for each local program as nominees for the American Visions and Voice Medals for recognition and exhibition in New York City, according to the organization.

The Scholastic Art and Writers was established in 1923 prestigious visual and literary arts program recognizing the accomplishments of students from seventh through 12 grades.  There are also scholarship opportunities attached to the award.  Gold Key award winners are eligible for one of 16 $10,000 scholarships. Silver Key winners can receive $1,000 scholarships.  According to the organization senior Key winners can be eligible for partial to full-ride scholarships from a network of 60 arts universities and institutes.

“I just submitted a bunch of things I wrote from sophomore year and was lucky enough that a couple were recognized,” Levien said.  He has not yet been notified of details about the local recognition ceremony.

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