Scholastic Writing: HRV writers Peterson, Miller, Sacre honored

Hunter Peterson and Danielle Miller, seniors at Hood River Valley High School and Cayla Sacre, a junior, won notable awards in 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, one of the most prestigious national recognition program for students in the U.S.

Teens in grades 7 through 12 submit in 28 categories of art and writing for their chance to have their works exhibited or published.

Students in Hood River submit to the West Region-At-Large, competing against students from California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Honorable Mentions are awarded to 15-20 percent of regional works, Silver Keys are awarded to 10-15 percent of regional works, and Gold Keys, which represent the highest level of achievement in the region, are awarded to only 7-10 percent of regional works.

These works move on to national judging in New York City. Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, and John Updike are just a few Scholastic award winners in the writing category.

This year, the competition received more than 230,000 original works.

Sacre, a newcomer to the competition and to writing, was awarded a Silver Key for her poetry collection. In the future, she hopes to write scripts for TV shows.

“Writing is one of the most beautiful and emotional art forms, and I wish more people considered writing art,” she said. “It feels bad to be snubbed by the artistic community. This contest gave me a lot of confidence in my writing.”

Miller, who has previously won a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention in digital photography, won a Silver Key for her essay on Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”

She originally found the competition through her art class, noticed the writing category, and decided to submit.

“It is ridiculous that succeeding in writing is required to graduate, yet succeeding in it as an art form is not recognized. Writing should be regarded as an art form because it is used to convey feelings in the same way as other art.”

Peterson, a hopeful novelist and screenwriter and a four-year veteran of the competition, won two Gold Keys and two Honorable mentions, bringing her to 14 total awards, including three Gold Keys, six Silver Keys, and five Honorable Mentions.

She has won in poetry, short story, memoir, and persuasive writing. She has also been published in Hobby Farm Home and Teen Ink, a national teen writing magazine, which also awarded her a place in their New York City Summer Writing Intensive.

“Writing is not second-class art, though it is often treated that way because it is harder to absorb and harder to appraise than visual art,” she said. “The writers represent a much smaller group than the visual art students at HRV, for whom entry into Scholastic is pushed by the teachers. We don’t have that teacher involvement, so those who do know about Scholastic submit entirely on our own. I wish that the writers were recognized with the same level of celebration as the art students by both the school and the community.”


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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