Northport High School senior Ella Piscatello earned not only one recognition, but three from the 100th Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She received honorable mentions in both the dramatic script category and personal essay and memoir category and earned the Gold Key award for her critical essay, titled “Every Book is for Someone.”
Gold Key works are automatically advanced to the national level, with winners being announced March 22. Her winning essay, originally written in her Creative Writing course with teacher Michael Beskin, eloquently described her thoughts on the recent increase in schools and communities banning books. “I think that while not every book is for everyone, I do think that every book is for someone. Limiting that for someone can be extremely harmful to society,” she said.
Her personal essay “Along for the Ride” was about how overthinking can hinder people in their lives as told through her fear of rollercoasters. Her dramatic script, titled “Snap,” was about the recent rise in sextortion amongst high school students and the overall increase in young adults using social media and technology at a younger age.
“I really love writing because I think that it has the power to promote ideas and promote change. I have a passion for writing because of that. That’s why all my themes and topics that I write tend to be something that I feel passionately about; that I would like to see benefit society,” said Ella.
English teacher Michael Beskin emphasized how Ella is truly a dedicated writer. He said “she’s one of the top students I have ever taught. She does it not for the grades, but she’s learned about the journey.”
“She understands the idea of getting feedback and running with it and improving for self-improvement, not improving for the grade. She’s a true student of English. Loves reading; loves writing. She’s a pleasure to have in class,” he added.
The Scholastic Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Previous winners include Andy Warhol, Stephen King, Charles White and more celebrated artists and authors.
Ella will be recognized during a virtual ceremony in March. She will be attending Brown University in the fall and studying English and Theatre.