How do you get to meet celebrities Tina Fey and Rose Byrne in the same evening? These talented teens know the answer is you’ve got to “get creative.”

Golden Globe Award-winning actress, writer, and producer Tina Fey and Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress Rose Byrne joined the New York Life Foundation to congratulate winners of the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest running and most prestigious program for recognizing creative teens. The awards took place at the esteemed concert hall this June, presented by the non-profit Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.

The New York Life Foundation celebrated the winners of the New York Life Award, which offers scholarships of $1,000 to bereaved teens who personally experienced the death of a loved one. The New York Life Foundation Award provides six scholarships of $1,000 each to students whose work exemplifies how art can act as a positive outlet to cope with grief and raise public awareness of the issue of youth bereavement. 


“The fine works of art and literature created by these young people serve as a testament to the power the arts can have in helping those with grieving hearts. The Foundation hopes that competitions like this and programs such as our Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative will help elevate the conversation around childhood bereavement, something which is largely ignored or misunderstood by society.”

-Heather Nesle

The 2019 New York Life Award Recipients:

scholastic award winner

Zoe Chen, Age 18, Lynnfield, MA; Drawing and Illustration: Pulling Tight

scholastic award winner

Eric Schlesinger, Age 17, Naperville, IL; Film & Animation: The Kids Say Hello

scholastic award winner

Sofia Liaw, Age 18, Fayetteville, NY; Personal Essay/Memoir: Split Ends

scholastic award winner

Makayla Wach, Age 16, Pittsburgh, PA; Short Story: It Is What It Is

scholastic award winner

Brian Wee, Age 18, Erie, PA; Personal Essay/Memoir: Hug Coupons and Shoe Boxes

"Know your power, know that your vulnerability can also be your power, keep asking questions, keep listening, keep being creative and keep striving."

-Rose Byrne

More than 2,700 teens in grades 7–12, ages 13 and up, from the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad received national recognition, including 16 high school seniors who received the program's highest national honor—the Gold Medal Portfolio—along with a $10,000 scholarship. The Alliance annually provides more than $300,000 in scholarships to top Awards recipients and continually partners with esteemed colleges and universities to make scholarships available for college-bound National Medalists.

"You have all had the experience of making something where there once was nothing, so you know that anything is possible."

-Tina Fey

Since 2015, the New York Life Foundation has partnered with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to back scholarships specifically for teenagers whose work exemplifies how art and writing can serve as positive outlets for bereaved young people.


 About the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and are made possible through the generosity of Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, New York Life Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Command Web Offset Co., The New York Times, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, The Herb Block Foundation, Golden Artist Colors, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Entertainment Software Association Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Amazon Literary Partnership, and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Poetry Foundation.

Visit the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to find out more about them.

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Media contact
Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937

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