RBR Student Wins Top Prize in National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
RBR Creative Writers Garner Dozens of Accolades in Writing Competition
One of Red Bank Regional’s (RBR) most popular Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) programs is Creative Writing. Every year, Dr. Gretna Wilkinson’s students make her proud at the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which is sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. This year was no exception with 32 RBR Creative Writing Majors winning three dozen gold and silver medals as well as 16 Honorable Mentions at the regional level. Over 300,000 submissions were received. Three of those 32 went on to win National medals-- Liv Winnicki, Belmar, and Lola Todman, Red Bank, won Silver National Medals, and Mya Nunnally, Red Bank, won a Gold Medal. National finalists represented less than 1% of the original submissions. As a gold medal winner, Mya and her family were invited to the Scholastic reception at Carnegie Hall where she personally met special celebrity presenters Chelsea Clinton and Whoopi Goldberg.
A small percentage or of the Gold Medalists were then considered for the prestigious Gedenk Award, a monetary scholarship through a partnership with the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and The Gedenk Movement. (The latter was founded by Grammy Award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari.) Six students received the Gedenk award and Mya’s submission was signaled out as the top entrant.
The following appears on the Art & Writing Award Blog regarding the Gedenk award, “The judges felt that one work in particular – a poem titled A House of Leaves Moments Before the Wind by Mya Nunnally – truly captured the spirit of the award, and it is being further celebrated as The Gedenk Award for Tolerance with Honors.”
Mya’s award winning poem begins with its explanation as, “A poem for Kevin Carter, the photojournalist who took a picture of—but did not save—a child near death in the Sudan, posed in front of a vulture waiting for her death. He won the Pulitzer Prize for the photo, and committed suicide on my birthday.”
Following the Carnegie Hall Awards Ceremony, Mya and her family were invited to a special reception as a Gedenk winner and personally met with Miri Ben Ari.
Mya was completely surprised by the fanfare and overwhelmed by the honor explaining, “I walked into Carnegie hall and found out that I was on the list of winners who were to sit up front and meet with the founders. The whole thing was so amazing! My parents were over the moon!” She adds about her private meeting with Miri Ben Ari, “She was born in Israel and the Gedenk award comes from her heritage to prevent another Holocaust. The award is all about tolerance and acceptance.”
Acknowledged as a gifted writer, Mya is also an immensely talented poetry performer who has wowed her peers for the past three years at various Creative Writer’s programs, school assemblies and public performances.
Her biggest fan, and teacher Dr. Wilkinson states, “Mya is a brilliant, multi-talented, gentle soul. Having her in my class these past three years has allowed me the rare chance to encounter the very pulse rate of creativity itself. It beats with a steady rhythm and a welcome attitude of 'okayness.' Indeed, Mya works with language and imagery like teeth work with food -- churning away until what's left is a wholesome blend of mind-blowing sustenance for the intellect. I expect her to soar into enviable heights.”
To read her award-winning poem, visit the following blog, “http://blog.artandwriting.org/2015/05/14/meet-the-2015-gedenk-award-for-tolerance-recipients/.