I woke up to such exciting news today, I thought, “Beware the ides, my foot (I actually named another body part). This is a HAPPY day!” I was so thrilled, I got out of bed at 8:30!

The big news? My niece, Aline, won the Gold Medal in poetry in the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. This ninety-year-old award has quite a legacy, and previous winners include Truman Capote and Joyce Carol Oates.

Weeks ago, Aline won the Gold Key, which is the regional award, but we only found out this morning that she won the Gold Medal, the national award, naming her poem “Immigrant” among “the most outstanding works in the nation,” which means she’ll be going to New York City in May to accept her award at a formal ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

It doesn’t stop there. Her win makes her eligible to be appointed by a White House (!) committee as a National Student Poet, a kind of “literary ambassador.” Five will be chosen every year as part of the National Student Poets program, in collaboration with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

According to this Education Week blog post, National Student Poets will serve for a year, “support Library of Congress and U.S. Department of Education work related to poetry, and they will undertake a project to encourage the appreciation of poetry and highlight the importance of creative expression and literacy. They will organize and appear at poetry readings and workshops in their regions of the country, hopefully inspiring their peers to find, follow, or build on their literary interests.”

I have read Aline’s winning poem and it is breathtaking. I wish I could run it here but I can’t because it’s being published in an anthology called Raw Feetwhich consists of Gold Key-winning entries from the DC area. She is a published poet. She is fourteen.

Aline as a baby

None of Aline’s accomplishments is surprising to me. She started reading when she was 3.5 years old, writing fiction when she was five. I’ve kept her short stories and dinosaur screenplay.

Even then, her writing was not only brimming with intelligence and creativity and wit, but it was perfect in spelling and grammar and punctuation. As an editor, I couldn’t have been prouder. If you’re a longtime PCN reader, you’ve probably seen her insightful guest reviews, like this one when she was 12.

The cool thing is that Aline doesn’t brag about any of this. She downplays it, and doesn’t even tell her friends, not wanting to bring attention to herself. She doesn’t know I’m writing this post and I won’t tell her. This is for me. I’m bursting with pride and had to put it somewhere.

My friends and I often have conversations about encouraging kids to read, for it will take them places.

I present to you Aline, exhibit A.



  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Congrats to Aline!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    That’s fantastic!!! Congratulations proud aunt!!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth A. White
    March 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Very cool! Congratulations to her!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    How wonderful! Proud aunt, indeed. There’s hope for the world with young people as talented as Aline out there.

  • Reply
    Deb Milstein
    March 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    How fantastic! Mazel tov to Aline & her influential aunt!

  • Reply
    Patti O
    March 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Wow, you have an awesome niece!!! I love being a proud aunt myself :). Congratulations to Aline!!!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Congrats! Fantastic and pride-worthy news.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Wow! Just WOW!

  • Reply
    Danielle Smith
    March 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    How exciting!!! Congratulations! This is definitely an inspiration for us parents. Maybe one day Turkeybird will be hanging out with Aline talking about how silly we all once were for talking about them on our blogs. 😉

    So happy for you all! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Oh, congratulations to her! I am beaming with pride for you. Will you be publishing her poem here for us to read?

    • Reply
      March 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Be sure to keep us posted when the poem is published! I missed your comment about not being allowed to publish it here…

  • Reply
    Brett Battles
    March 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Whoa. How cool is that? Mega congratulations to Aline! And you have every right to be bursting at the seams.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Congrats to both of you!! Great news, proud Aunt!

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree Illustration
    March 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    There’s something about your gene pool, PCN. I’m not just talking about talent ~ an uncommon sense of self-discipline, hard work, dedication and humility runs through your family tree. I’d be bursting with pride, too. {Sounds like I’m contradicting myself, doesn’t it ~ you know what I mean!!} What a wonderful achievement. Congratulations to Aline. {Woot! Sorry, that escaped. I was trying to sound more literate in keeping with the high standard here but what the heck…}

  • Reply
    Naomi Johnson
    March 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    How wonderful! Only 14 – amazing!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Elyse! That is soooo cool!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    This is amazing! Congratulations to your niece 🙂

  • Reply
    Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick
    March 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Woot woot! Congrats!!

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