Senior Tina Nazerian has a busy schedule with Orchestra, National Honor Society, and Writing club, but she still managed to win two Gold Keys and a Silver Key Portfolio –the first Kerr student to do so in four years.
The Scholastic Gold Key is a first place award for writing stories against competing schools from all around the country. The process of winning this competition involves creative writing and piecing together stories, in case of a portfolio.
It all started with her English II creative writing assignment for The Grapes of Wrath: on the grading slip she recieved back, teacher Ayn Nys recommended her to participate in Scholastic.
“The piece was based on Esfahan, the place I went to over the summer. It motivated me into [doing Scholastic] in upperclassmen years as well.”
Her short stories were based on her experience during her vacation.
“Summer before sophomore year, I went to Iran,” Nazerian said. The stories of the country’s people and “Iran’s rich culture and everything that’s going on, inspires me.”
Nazerian said that at first she wasn’t really confident enough in her writing, and didn’t expect to win the silver key for her writing portfolio. Her category was short story, which had a maximum limit of 24,000 words or 4-8 different works, and the works could range from one to a variety of genres.
“I felt overwhelmed with all the writing and wasn’t 100 percent confident in how it was pieced together,” she said.
Nazerian gets the ideas for her stories from her experiences, and usually lets the plot form in her head.
“Generally when I feel like I have a good idea, it enters my head, just happens, from that point on, I leave it alone for a bit [and] play around with it. I generally like to focus on one thing at a time and getting it done in one sitting.”
Nazerian feels like she has benefited from Scholastic because she learned how to express her creativity and how to express herself.
“I noticed things I would never have noticed…[and] explored worlds I never knew existed.”
It was exhilarating for her to make the portfolio, because writing is Nazerian’s passion and she hopes that it can get her where she wants to be in the future.
“I’m excited where my life will take me…and I’m ready to have this new life,” she said. “Definitely continuing writing and joining Thresher club [at Rice University], continuing short stories on the side. I got accepted [to Rice] by being myself and doing what I love to do and it showed on my application.”
Scholastic has a lot of value to Nazerian; it was one thing that truly helped her get her message across to other people.
“Scholastic means progress and it changed me as a student, ” she said. “[It] told me there is a way to get what you want across and you’re not limited; you can be creative.”
Editor’s note: Story was edited on September 18, 2017, to remove one quote and paraphrase another.