Sophomore Earns National Gold Medal at 2024 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Emma Yeon
Bronxville, NY

Bronxville High School sophomore Emma Yeon has won the National Gold Medal at the prestigious 2024 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition for her literary piece “Afterglow.”

"Afterglow" tells the story of a hatchling that is born by the sea in the middle of a dark, stormy day. The hatchling at first believes that the world is a dark place as a reflection of the world it sees; it wonders about the meaning of humanity and is characterized as afraid and downtrodden. As the story progresses, the captain of a ship finds, rescues and cares for the hatchling, teaching the small, fragile creature that humanity is kind, hopeful and resilient. 

English teacher Ally DeFreitas, who taught the young writer in eighth and ninth grade, provided guidance and editing assistance to Yeon and helped prepare the piece for submission.

“Emma is an exceptional human, student and writer,” DeFreitas said. “She has been excelling in academics while continuing to cultivate her creative writing skills. She has a stunning ability to captivate her audience with gorgeous prose that showcases her knowledge of technical writing skills while giving the reader a peek into her insightful understanding of the human experience.”

DeFreitas expressed pride that the deserving student’s talents were recognized at the national level.

Yeon said she was deeply honored by the recognition, and grateful to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for the opportunity to share her writing and to her teachers for their guidance, encouragement and support.

“I write for many reasons: I write for fun, for escape, and for the joy of creation; I write for all of the teachers who saw potential in me when I did not see it in myself; and, most of all, I write because it gives meaning to the mundane,” Yeon said. “Writing reminds me that there is significance in every breath of wind, in every quiet moment of dusk, in every lingering note of birdsong. Ultimately, I am very grateful for the places my writing has taken me so far, and I am looking forward to writing for many more years to come.”

Presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition is the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. It identifies students with exceptional artistic and literary talents.