By Janice Llanes Fabry

Rye Neck High School senior Claire Julian won the National Gold Medal at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at Carnegie Hall on June 8. Julian was one of 700 students honored that evening and one of only 55 fiction writers nationwide to earn the gold medal.

“I didn’t recognize the gravity of the award until the ceremony,” admitted Julian, who won for her short story, “A Gentler Touch”. She continued, “I wrote the story spontaneously and it was really personal, so the award is validating and very meaningful to me.”

The ceremony was quite an extravaganza. Special guest speakers included author and comedian Amy Schumer, actresses Ellie Kemper and Allison Williams, social media host Hunter March, and a past award winner, Paul Chan, who encouraged this year’s recipients to be themselves.

Rye Neck English Department Chair Melinda Merkel said, “It was a stunning night that lets talents like Claire know she’s not alone in undertaking such creative endeavors, and her efforts are not going unnoticed.”

The Scholastic Awards, produced by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, celebrate creative students across America. This year, the Alliance received 330,000 submissions of original art and writing in grades 7-12.

In good company, Claire’s notable predecessors who have won the Scholastic Awards include Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Stephen King, and Lena Dunham.

“The award is a tribute to who Claire is as a writer. She is intrinsically self-motivated,” said English teacher Mary Lanza. “She uses her writing as a creative outlet for her emotions, and there is a maturity to her imagery and complex characters.”

Quite the Renaissance young woman, Julian, who is currently working on a book of poems and short stories, is also an accomplished musician. She sings, plays the bass and drums, and is the guitarist for a band called No Reception. An avid songwriter, she was accepted into the University of Miami’s Creative American Music program and their highly selective MADE minor (Music, Artistry, Development, and Entrepreneurship).


Claire Julian