Perpich News

Hailey Petersen (Visual Arts 2021) Named 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Gold Medalist, Scholarship Winner

March 17, 2021

Today, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers announced the National Medalists of the 98th annual 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards – the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for young artists and writers in grades 7–12. Perpich Arts High School is thrilled to announce that Hailey Petersen (Visual Arts, 2021) has received their highest honor, a Gold Medal Portfolio Award!

Among the more than 1,700 students who received news of their recognition at the national level of the Awards program, only sixteen recipients earned the program’s highest honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio Award, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. These students were selected from among the nearly 2,000 works that received National Medals, and among the 15,000 works that were awarded regionally with Gold Keys. The 2021 Gold Medal Portfolio Recipients are:

Gold Portfolios, Art:

  • Brianna Blue, Brooklyn, NY
  • Maximo Guerra, Miami, FL
  • Amellia Hausmann, Memphis, TN
  • Helena Hockertz, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • Myah Jackson-Solomon, Towson, MD
  • Alyvia Luong, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Hailey Petersen, Golden Valley, MN
  • Nathan Yang, Los Angeles, CA

Gold Portfolios, Writing:

  • Caroline Dinh, Rockville, MD
  • Grace Gomez-Palacio, Columbia, MO
  • Yasmeen Jaaber, Chesterfield, VA
  • Tyler Kellogg, Greenville, SC
  • Keerthi Lakshmanan, Cupertino, CA
  • Justin Li, Basking Ridge, NJ
  • Sylvia Nicholas-Patterson, Lakeland, FL
  • Esther Sun, Los Gatos, CA

Hailey Petersen (Visual Arts, 2021) Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Gold Medal Portfolio Award recipient

Reflecting on receiving this honor, Hailey Petersen said, “I was happy and excited to receive such an amazing award, but it wasn’t until the next day when it really started to kick in that this award was a big deal. I’ve never been one to want attention brought on me so even when I was allowed to share the big news, I was still quiet about it. The past year has been difficult, to say the least. To receive great news in these times is always a gift. I am happy to share my stories with others and maybe create a connection with the people that view my stories. To be one of 16 of the chosen portfolios, and 8 out of the chosen art portfolios, is something I’m still processing, but I’m excited for what the future holds.”

Kathryn D’Elia, one of Hailey’s visual arts instructors, said, “We are so proud of Hailey Petersen who was awarded a Scholastic National Gold Medal for their Art Portfolio this year, one of sixteen young artists nationally! Hailey takes on creative projects with boldness, skill, and thoughtful consideration. They embody all of the elements of a Thinking Artist, which is our goal here at Perpich, and Hailey does it all with a side of humor and incredible determination. It’s wonderful to see Hailey’s work and effort be recognized for what we, and their art teachers in the past, have been observing and supporting in them for so long. Congratulations, Hailey!”

thomas Carlson, Hailey’s language arts instructor, said, “Hailey is exactly the kind of artist the world needs. Undaunted by the time and effort it takes to hone skills, unafraid to take risks, committed to individual and community learning, Hailey uses their creativity to subvert limits and find solutions. In doing so, they find their voice, authentic and true. I look forward to seeing how Hailey raises their voice in the future!”

Hailey previously attended Anoka High School and was a student of Kevan Nitzberg, former visual art instructor in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Now in its 98th year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for young artists and writers in grades 7–12. The Awards serve as a launch pad for furthering students’ future success by providing them with access to scholarship programs and workshops, as well as the ability to have their work published and displayed in regional and national exhibitions. The National Ceremony is scheduled for June 9, 2021. The Portfolio Awards, made possible by generous individual donors and other supporters, offer $10,000 scholarships to 16 Gold Medal Portfolio recipients and $1,000 scholarships to 30 Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio recipients. To learn more, and to find a complete list of the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Medalists, visit:

Chris Wisniewski, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, said: “The past twelve months have presented all of us – including our country’s teens – with unprecedented challenges. The extraordinary young people recognized in this year’s Scholastic Awards have crafted fresh, original work that grapples with the pandemic, racial and social justice, climate change, and more while also mining personal stories of triumph, loss, heartbreak, and growth. The National Medalists have blown us away with their ability to express themselves through inspired and inspiring art and writing; now more than ever, we need to hear the voices of these future leaders.”

This year, nearly 230,000 works were entered into the Awards by students from every state in the nation for adjudication. Students had the opportunity to enter any of the Awards’ 28 categories – including short story, fashion design, photography, memoir, printmaking, poetry, and novel writing – as well as a variety of sponsored award scholarships.

Judging Criteria
All art and writing submissions are blindly judged based on the same three criteria that have been in place since the program’s founding: originality, technical skill, and emergence of personal vision or voice. Student works are first adjudicated regionally through more than 100 local Affiliates of the Alliance. Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated within their communities through exhibitions and ceremonies. Gold Key works are then judged nationally by an impressive panel of creative-industry experts to receive Gold, Silver, American Visions & Voices, and Gold or Silver with Distinction Portfolio Medals.

About the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and are made possible through the generosity of Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, New York Life Foundation, Command Companies, The New York Times, The Herb Block Foundation, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, Quad, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ray Bradbury Foundation, Salesforce, Garcia Family Foundation, Lindenmeyr, the Salamander Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation, Golden Artist Colors, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Hearthland Foundation, the Poetry Foundation, and Academy of American Poets.

For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, visit Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Scholastic media room:

Hailey Peterson, Artist Statement:

Each work in the portfolio has an issue that occurs, and how the person in the comic will face that issue. The issues range from a small issue like the dog that is left out in the winter snow, to a bigger issue like dealing with depression and mental illnesses. The goal of this portfolio is to have the viewer experience what the characters in the comics are feeling, and to give the viewer another viewpoint on mental illnesses and issues that some people go through. The first artwork is based off of a sleep demon that haunts the character inside and outside her dream. This comic shows how the character felt at peace in the beginning, but it soon takes a turn as she starts to drown and wakes up in her room only to come face to face with her demon. I kept the monster concept with the next comic. The two boys are having a peaceful walk, but are soon brought to a dark side of the forest when they find a dead rabbit. They are soon in the presence of a monster. Instead of a monster, the characters in the third comic are facing the negative effects of high school. The yellow highlighter highlights the issue for that person in that panel. The issue in the first panel is all the work, lack of sleep and stress that comes from school. The second panel highlights the nicotine addiction of students in school, and the last panel highlights the struggles of self identity that individuals have. The highlighter method is then used in the next comic. This comic highlights one specific thing in each panel. This highlighter method is used to indicate to the viewer what the issue of the story is. Comic four tells a story about a guy that has lost the people he cares about and this pushes him to commit suicide. Comic five tells a story of a man that lives in the woods alone, and though he thinks he’s fine alone he actually enjoys the company of a dog that stumbles across his porch. Just like comic four, comic six focuses on the depression that loneliness can cause to someone. Unlike comic four, comic six focuses on the long days of just living through life with a mask on, while comic four shows how he doesn’t want to live anymore. Each comic has its main character that is facing an issue, and though their issue may be similar they face them in their own way.