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Elementary and Primary Education
Harris County Department of Education
News Release
Friday, February 07, 2014

Harris County teens take home 1,587 awards as HCDE’s regional winners
of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Winners hail from 17 Harris County ISDs, private, charter, home schools
Winners, celebrations posted at
HCDE regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2014 winners

From a teenage writer expressing her feelings about cancer through prose to a young artist depicting his view of the world through charcoal sketches, the accomplishments of 1,587 teens in Harris County who are regional winners of Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2014 won’t go unnoticed. As regional coordinator for the 91-year-old Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Harris County Department of Education celebrates student talent from 17 Harris County Independent School Districts and multiple private, charter and home schools through multiple ceremonies in February.

Winners of the awards in both writing and art genres hail from Harris County districts, including Aldine, Alief, Clear Creek, Crosby, Cypress-Fairbanks, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Houston, Huffman, Humble, Katy, Klein, Pasadena, Spring Branch, Spring, and Tomball. Charter schools are KIPP public schools and Harmony public schools. Private schools are Annunciation Orthodox, Duchesne Academy, Episcopal High, First Baptist Academy, Houston Christian High, River Oaks Baptist, St. Agnes Academy, St. John’s School, Second Baptist, St. Thomas Episcopal, The Bannff School, The Branch School, The Post Oak School, The Kinkaid School, and The Village School. Several home school students are also winners.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards provides teen artists and writers in grades 7-12 with the opportunity to showcase their work as it identifies and documents their outstanding achievements. The competition’s mission is to bring outstanding visual art and writing to a national audience by showcasing work and encouraging young students’ creative journeys and career development. Former winners include John Updike, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, Zac Posen John Lithgow, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Ken Burns, John Baldessari, Truman Capote and Sylvia Plath.

Students are recognized with Gold Key, Silver Key and honorable mention awards. In 2014, students in Harris County earned 630 awards in writing and 957 awards in art. Total entries into the regional competition were 2,381. Regional judges are both local and national art and writing professionals who volunteer their time.

“We are extremely proud of our Harris County teens and continue to showcase their talents locally and nationally,” said Harris County Department of Education regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards coordinator Melba Kent. “With the help of area volunteers who value young artistic talent and area sponsors who contribute to regional scholarships, we are able to continue to grow our program.”

Gold Key winners in both art and writing advance to the national level of judging in New York City. Winners are invited to receive awards and scholarships at Carnegie Hall, where they also gain the opportunity to participate in artist workshops.

For a complete list of 2014 area winners and celebrations, go to .

Pictured: Leah Bydalek, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, earned regional awards via Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition 2013 through Harris County Department of Education and advanced to national acclaim as an art portfolio Gold Key medalist. Last summer she walked across Carnegie Hall in New York City to receive her $10,000 scholarship award among a select 17 national art portfolio winners.

About Scholastic Art & Writing: Scholastic Art & Writing Awards celebrates 91 years of presence in classrooms across the nation as it identifies and documents outstanding achievements of young artists and writers. Yearly, 95,000 students in grades 7-12 participate through regional programs. Harris County Department of Education is the regional sponsor since 1993.

About HCDE:  Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 25 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, Early Childhood Intervention and Head Start programs. We offer purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support. Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at

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