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Six Students Receive The New York Life Award As Part Of The 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Teen Artists and Writers Recognized in Creativity and Bereavement Category

NEW YORK, N.Y., June 29, 2012 – Six students received the New York Life Award as part of the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for teenage artists and writers in the United States, administered by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The creation of the award was part of a $50,000 contribution by the New York Life Foundation to the Alliance in 2011

To be considered for the special New York Life Award, teens in grades 7 through 12 submitted work that dealt with bereavement or loss. Students submitted more than 7,000 works for consideration. Each of the New York Life Award winners received a $1,000 scholarship. The New York Life Award recipients and their submissions are:

  • Johanna Bear, an eighth grader at Lamberton Middle School and a resident of Carlisle, PA, for her personal essay, Blueberry Whispers;
  • Emma Chalk, an eighth grader at Bay Middle School and a resident of Bay Village, OH, for her short story, Memories of Us;
  • Paris Ebersviller, a senior at Hopkins Senior High School and a resident of Minnetonka, MN, for her painting, What We Forget;
  • Claudia Fang, a junior at Hunter College High School and a resident of Little Neck, NY, for her personal essay, Final Apology;
  • Samantha Siomko, a junior at Warwick Senior High School and a resident of Lititz, PA, for her short story, Watch Me; and
  • Dillan Smith, a senior at St. Joseph High School and a resident of St. Joseph, MI, for her poem, Those Were the Days
  • Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national medalists were honored at a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 1, which included addresses by three-time Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep and renowned cartoonist Edward Sorel who won a Scholastic Award when he was a teenager. This year, there were 200,000 submissions in 28 categories of art and writing, and more than 1,600 won national Awards, including the New York Life Award recipients.

    Select Award-winning pieces of art and writing were exhibited at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons the New School for Design in Chelsea from June 1 – 16. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg provided his written endorsement of the Awards, and the top of the Empire State Building was lit in gold in honor of the students' achievements.

    Throughout the 2012 school year, a traveling exhibit will continue to display Award-winning student work throughout the country, beginning in Detroit this fall. Submissions for the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the program's 90th year, will open on September 17, 2012. For more information, visit

    About The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

    The Alliance, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, identifies teenagers with exceptional creative talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Founded in 1923, the Awards is the longest-running, most prestigious program of its kind, having fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students through recognition, exhibitions and publications. Over the past five years alone, students have submitted nearly 700,000 pieces of work and more than $25 million has been made available in scholarships and awards to top winning participants. The Alliance partners with 116 regional affiliates across the country to bring the program to local communities, and works with a network of more than 60 colleges and universities to increase the range of scholarship and award opportunities. With the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alliance is a founding partner of the National Student Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets, which selects five students exclusively from current Scholastic Art & Writing Award poetry winners. More information about the Alliance and its programs can be found at

    The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is generously supported by Scholastic Inc., the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, AMD Foundation, Command Web Offset Co., Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, The New York Times, Blick Art Materials, Ovation, the New York Life Foundation,, the Bernstein Family Foundation, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and additional contributions from numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders. The traveling exhibition is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As the program prepares for its 90th anniversary in 2013, the Alliance is calling all alumni to reconnect ( and join in the celebration.

    About The New York Life Foundation

    Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $155 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on “Nurturing the Children,” the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Life program. To learn more, please visit the Foundation's Web site at