Record 61 National Scholastic Art & Writing Medals Awarded to Area Teens after Regional Advancement with Harris County Department of Education

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March 22, 2018 by HCDE Communications

American Visions Award painting by Emilio Recio, Pasadena ISD

Harris County student artists and writers in grades 7-12 earned a record-breaking 61 national Scholastic Art & Writing Medals through awards announced by the New York nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers on March 13.  The student art and prose entries advanced from a regional competition sponsored by Harris County Department of Education.

Sharing the national limelight are students from Alief, Clear Creek, Galena Park, Houston, Pasadena, Klein, Katy, Cy-Fair, Deer Park, Pearland, Tomball, Spring and Spring Branch independent school districts. Private school recipients are from Episcopal High School, Houston Christian High School, St. John’s School, The Village School, St. Thomas High School, River Oaks Baptist School and The Kinkaid School.

The Awards, founded in 1923, allow creative teen artists and writers to earn recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships.  View the list of the 61 Silver and Gold Harris County Medalists: .

Specialty Gold Medal awards went to two Houston-area teens. Emilio Recio from Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena Independent School District earned the best-in-class, prestigious American Visions award while Emma Bennett from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston ISD gained the American Voices award.

National medalists from Harris County increased from 59 in 2017 to a record 61 in 2018. Twenty Gold Medals and 41 Silver Medals were awarded. A record-breaking 346,000 works of art and writing were submitted for judging this year.

Gold Medalists are invited to a national ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 7, 2018 where they are recognized among more than 2,800 teens throughout the nation. That evening, the Statue of Liberty is lit in gold in recognition of the celebration.

Area celebrations and exhibits have been hosted throughout Houston to celebrate the artists, including exhibits at Texas Art Supply and The Galleria. Gold and Silver Key art from students in grades 7-8 is displayed from March 27 to April 1 at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston, 3400 Main St., Houston, Texas.

“Scholastic Art & Writing is important because it allows teens to express themselves creatively and compete through writing and art genres,” said Harris County School Superintendent James Colbert, Jr. “In addition to the prestige of the Awards, students have scholarship opportunities for college. As regional sponsor, we are supporting fine arts initiatives in Harris County schools and celebrate the teachers and volunteer judges, along with the community supporters who provide venues for artist ceremonies and receptions.”

For more information about how to enter, judge or sponsor the Awards in Harris County, go to

About Scholastic Art & Writing: Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships. Past winners include celebrated artists and writers such as Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, John Lithgow, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath. More at .

About Harris County Department of Education:  HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at

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