Posted by Rebecca Wallace-Segall
Ah, another element that I wish I had included in the WSJ op-ed...
Some quick history: The Scholastic Awards (established 85 years ago) was the first major institution that sought to connect, inspire and celebrate young creative writers. Back then, mainly young scientists, mathematicians, and athletes had the opportunity to vie for impressive awards and to ultimately be publicly celebrated. The founders of the Scholastic Awards wanted to change that.
They believed, it seems, that the existence of an institutional honor system would serve to demarginalize and empower young creatives.
Now: Decades later, the Scholastic Awards play a similar role in the lives of the young creatives I have the pleasure of knowing. It inspires them with deadlines and with high standards; it makes them feel like there is a place in the world for them... and that they are valued. And best of all, it gives them the opportunity to feel like actual writers... which they are.
Of course, all of this has wonderful impact on their self-esteem. Winning recognition is only one factor of this rich equation.