This month, we are sharing High School student accolades from:
2023 Scholastic Art Awards
GDS High School students garnered 81 Scholastic Art Awards for artwork created this fall and early winter. The Scholastic Art Awards are the nation’s longest-running (since 1924) and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Students submitted their pieces in early December and learned of the results at the end of January. Congratulations to all the honorees!
2023 Scholastic Art Award Winners (*portfolio award)
Abby Quinn-Shores: ’25 Gold Key
Adam Harris ’23: Silver Key
Ally Brangham ’23: Two Gold Keys, one Silver Key, and one Honorable Mention
Anna Ford ’24: Honorable Mention
Ares Osorio ’26: Silver Key
Ava Blum ’23: One Silver Key and four Honorable Mentions*
Avery Ludlow ’24: Two Honorable Mentions
Aymaan Enayetullah ’25: Silver Key
Carter Kunz ’26: Three Gold Keys
Cole Kaplan ’26: Honorable Mention
Daria Kabiri ’23: One Gold Key and one Honorable Mention
Edie Carey ’23: a Silver Key and one Honorable Mention
EJ Mazo ’26: Gold Key
Elodie Fleurence ’25: Gold Key
Elsa Cheetham ’25: Gold Key
Emery Jackson ’23: Two Honorable Mentions
Gabrielle Swamy ’23: Seven Honorable Mentions
Jacqueline Metzger ’23: Honorable Mention
Jake Jameson ’24: Silver Key
Joshua Reynolds ’24: Two Gold Keys
Julian Lucas ’26: Silver Key and an Honorable Mention
Leah Li ’24: Silver Key
Kaiden Yu ’23: Honorable Mention*
Lucy Mezey ’23: Silver Key
Max Stumpf ’24: Silver Key and an Honorable Mention
Maya Raman ’23: Three Honorable Mentions
Mia Chevere ’23: Gold Key and two Silver Keys
Mikhail Westelius ’26: Honorable Mention
Mimi Mayorkas ’23: Honorable Mention
Nate Ridl ’26: Gold Key
Nava Mach ’23: Honorable Mention
Navin Desai ’24: Two Honorable Mentions
Nico Abbate ’26: Silver Key
Pilar Holder ’23: Honorable Mention
Rachel Sachs ’26: Two Gold Keys
Robert Koukios ’24: Honorable Mention
Sara Swamy ’25: Silver Key
Sasha Lowit ’26: Honorable Mention
Sebastian Butts ’26: Honorable Mention
Shaan Desai ’24: Silver Key and two Honorable Mentions
Sophie Wohlstadter ’23: Honorable Mention
Yuanhe (Hercules) Zhang ’24: Gold Key and an Honorable Mention
Yuanjia (Phoenix) Zhang ’24: Honorable Mention
Zaira Chowdhury ’23: Three Gold Keys* and three Silver Keys
Zoe Maas ’26: Honorable Mention
Stay tuned for writing awards, which are selected later in the year.
Local Letters for Global Change
Join us in celebrating the GDS finalists in the 2022 Pulitzer Center’s Local Letters for Global Change contest: Catherine Dooley ’24 and Claire Simon ’24. GDS’s two finalists were among the 20 selected from 500 entrants—representing submissions from six countries, 21 states, and the nation’s capital—addressing issues like climate change, racial justice, reproductive rights, and more.
High School history teacher Sue Ikenberry assigns the local letter writing project in her U.S. Political History class. This year, Sue brought in a Pulitzer Center staff member to walk students through how to write a contest-winning letter. Students learned to draw connections from a top international news story to write an advocacy letter to a local elected official with the goal of effecting change.
“I think it's a good idea for GDS students to challenge themselves against students from all over the country,” Sue said. “When they win an award, it's a real indication of how strong they are as students.”
Catherine’s letter discussed the global issue of menstrual equity and urged Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, and others, to help end period poverty in Washington, DC. We asked Catherine what contributed most to her ability to be a powerful advocate on this topic at GDS.
“GDS has taught me to use my voice and stand up for what I believe in,” she said. “If there is an issue that deserves attention, GDS has always supported me and provided me with the tools to advocate for something I’m passionate about.”
Claire’s letter calls on chairman Phil Mendelson of the Council of the District of Columbia to protect reproductive rights and access to safe abortions. Outside of school, Claire is the communications coordinator at Gen-Z for Change, an education and civic engagement organization founded by GDS alumnus Aidan Kohn Murphy ’22 that uses online platforms to effect positive social change. As part of that work, she worked with House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney’s office to strategize ways to offer those seeking abortions more transparency in their options in a post-Roe America.
“During this discussion, I learned about the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation Act (SAD Act), which is a really powerful bill requiring the FTC to prohibit reproductive healthcare clinics from engaging in deceptive advertising related to the provision of abortion services,” Claire said, even as abortion disinformation and misinformation continues to compound nationwide. “I’d love to see a similar bill be taken up in the District, especially given that it’s home to a handful of crisis pregnancy centers, facilities that are notorious for luring pregnant people to their location only to either deny or guilt them out of abortions. Ultimately, reproductive justice is an issue I care deeply about, and I am glad I was able to portray that in my letter.”
Thanks to debate coach Gabe Koo for sharing this update from GDS’s attendance at the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational:
In Public Forum debate:
We had 14 students compete in the novice (first-year debater) division. The teams of Andrew ’26 & Nick ’26 and Nate ’26 & Lomahn ’26 reached the elimination rounds with a winning record and both placed in the top 10.
Andrew was also the 3rd overall speaker in his division.
Please also congratulate the following students who had wins at their debate tournament debuts: Andie ’26, Charlotte ’26, Corina ’26, and Madeleine ’26.
In Policy debate:
The team of Ben ’25 & Sam ’26 had a winning record and placed in the quarterfinals of the novice division. Tiya ’25 & Alec ’26 also netted a win at their first-ever tournament.
In the varsity division, all five of our teams had winning records. That means even our lowest-performing team was better than half the competition.
Sophie ’23 & Isadora ’23 were co-champions of the tournament. Sophie and Izzy are now fully qualified for the Tournament of Champions (TOC). Wish them luck for the postseason tournament in April.
Mark ’24 & Ike ’24 were the third overall seed. They narrowly missed out on the bid to the TOC, though they still have a chance to make it at the next tournament. Ike was also the top speaker in the entire division and Mark was the seventh.
Darwin ’24 & Hercules ’24 made it to the elimination rounds where they ended as the 13th seed. This was their first time making it past the preliminary rounds, a big breakthrough!
Clio ’25 & Caroline ’24 went undefeated in the rounds they did debate. Unfortunately, illness prevented them from debating in order to advance to the elimination rounds.
Ava ’25 & Emma ’26 ended with a 3-2 record. Quite impressive considering that this is only Ava’s second tournament this year, and Emma is a novice debater, who we pulled up into the varsity division!
Feel free to congratulate our students on a job well done. Next up—a virtual tournament February 11-12, hosted by a small school in Palo Alto called Stanford.