Last week, we had the privilege and honor to celebrate the 2020 National Medalists in our first-ever Virtual National Ceremony! Thank you to everyone who joined us for the live event. If you’d like to revisit, you can find a recording of the Virtual National Ceremony here. Celebrities like Gal Gadot, Suzanne Collins, Lena Dunham, Dav Pilkey, Chris Colfer, and Jennifer Garner all came online to congratulate these talented young artists and writers on their achievement.

As Jennifer Garner said in last Thursday’s Virtual National Ceremony, “The spirit and generosity you exhibit through your art is truly life changing.” We are endlessly proud of every young person who chose to share their voice with the Scholastic Awards this year, regardless of whether or not they won an award, and we are just sorry we do not have enough space to celebrate all of their incredible voices and visions. Today, we will take a moment to remember some of our favorite moments from last week’s Virtual National Ceremony, and to continue celebrating some of the amazing artists and writers in our RAL community. Be sure to check out the Virtual Exhibition to continue exploring other award winning works on your own.

Class of 2019 National Student Poets Reading

All of our 2019 National Student Poets silenced viewers with their remarkable readings of original poems. We are happy to include two of these amazing young poets in our RAL family.

Screenshots from the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Virtual National Ceremony.

Gold Medal & Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio Winners

Each year, high school seniors submit breathtaking portfolios of art or writing works. A select few portfolios are chosen for our two scholarship portfolio awards, the Gold Medal Portfolio and the Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio Awards.

We are proud to introduce this year’s portfolio scholarship award winners from RAL!

Scholarship & Special Achievement Award Winners

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards partners with dedicated individuals, foundations, and corporations to provide scholarship awards to young artists and writers who create work on a certain theme. Check out some of the Special Achievement Award winners from RAL this year.

Civic Expression Award Winner, Tiffany Onyeiwu

Excerpt from The Role of Black Girl Magic in Intersectional America, by Tiffany Onyeiwu, Meadville Area Senior High School, Meadville, PA. Educator: Kristy Porter. Check out Tiffany’s full Award-winning piece and hear Tiffany discuss this work in the Online Gallery here.

The Alliance/ACT-SO Journey Award Winner, Jack Anderson

Scribble Portrait, by Jack Anderson, Maret School, Washington, DC. Educator: Carlotta Hester. Hear Jack discuss his Award-winning piece in the Online Gallery here.

The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technologial and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a local and national competition program designed to encourage academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. To connect with your local ACT-SO chapter, check out the ACT-SO website or search “ACT-SO near me” online.

New York Life Award Winner, Sky Stockton

A screen capture from Why We Run, a Film & Animation by Sky Stockton, St. Joseph High School, St. Joseph, MI. Educator: Matt Culver. Watch Sky’s full piece in the Online Gallery here.

And with that…

The 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards year comes to a close! Thank you to the incredible RAL community, including our many adjudication partners, that made this year so remarkable, even amidst the many challenges we’re currently facing in the country and around the world. We hope you’ll take the summer to continue preparing for the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Submissions open September 1, 2020, and we hope you’ll share your latest creations with us!

In the meantime, continue creating and sharing your work with us through our Start.Write.Now summer challenges. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!

A note on Thoughtful Thursday: Thank you to everyone who shared resources and works with us throughout this time! We are constantly amazed by the incredible work being done by students, educators, and partners in our RAL community, and are honored to be able to share that work here. As we move into the summer Start.Write.Now challenges, this will be our last weekly Thoughtful Thursday post. However, we encourage you to check in on the blog regularly (and especially on Start.Write.Now days!) to keep up with the latest RAL news. As always, if you have a resource to share, please email it to us at We always want to hear from you, and this blog will continue to be a space to share resources and ideas across the far reaches of our RAL community.

Featured image credit: Screen capture from the 2020 Virtual National Ceremony.

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