Scholastic Art & Writing Best-in-Grade Awards encourage Harris County students to pursue talent

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July 7, 2017 by HCDE Communications

Rohaytn Room picEach year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards inspire a love of the arts and encourage students to pursue their passions. This year, in addition to receiving National Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Medals, two Harris County students were honored as the Best-in-Grade.

Urvashi Deshpande from Village High School won the award for 9th grade and Alec Martinez from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD received the award for 10th grade. Deshpande and Martinez were two of only a handful of students chosen as the Best-in-Grade by a special panel of national jurors. The students were honored onstage at the National Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June and will each receive $500 cash.

Deshpande, who won for her writing piece, said the award gave her confidence in her abilities as a writer.

“Sometimes I have doubts about my abilities, but winning this award made me absolutely sure that writing is something I’m good at,” said Deshpande. “It has motivated me to keep writing and keep sharing it with others.”

Martinez, who has always had an interest in film and photography, entered his first photograph into the contest this year, believing it would open up opportunities for his future. Martinez was surprised to receive a National Gold Medal and Best-in-Grade Award, encouraging him to pursue his passion.

“I love photography, but I didn’t realize I had talent until I received this award,” said Martinez. “It’s motivated me to pursue it further.”

Martinez hopes to one day use his photography talent as a film director, since photography and film go hand-in-hand. Although Deshpande isn’t sure she’ll be a writer, she knows her writing ability will benefit her in any career she chooses.

Photo: Urvashi Deshpande poses with her National Scholastic Gold Medal at Carnegie Hall.

For more information about the Scholastic Art & Writing Best-in-Grade Awards, visit

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