GDS Art Program Rakes In 95 Scholastic Awards

The GDS arts program, which has attracted much outside attention from locals and is prided for its strength within the GDS community, collected a remarkable number of Scholastic awards in both literary and arts honors this year.

This year, GDS collected a total of 95 honors: 24 literary awards and a special nomination, and 71 awards on the arts side. The literary awards included Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mentions received by 12 students grades 9-12, and a special nomination, one of five American Voices nominees in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. area.

Scholastic awards given to GDS students are even more extensive on the arts side, with 20 students receiving a total of 17 Gold Keys, two Gold Key Senior Portfolios, 23 Silver Keys and 31 Honorable Mentions. Students receiving the Gold Key award will have their work move on to be judged on a national level in New York City to potentially receive a National Medal.

These numbers showcase the strength of the GDS arts program, though our school is not the only one with a recognizable arts program in our area.

The Maret School, another Washington D.C. private school often compared to GDS in various aspects of curriculum, also prides itself on a strong arts program. In 2018, according to DC Urban Moms, Maret received 16 Gold Key awards, the most of any Washington DC private school, edging out GDS by only one recipient. Though the number of Scholastic awards Maret received is high, it should be noted that Maret does not submit Advanced Placement (AP) works, so the Scholastic awards are their main focus.

Numbers of awards are not available yet for 2019 in the arts section. Maret only received six literary awards, compared to GDS’s 24. One of GDS’s literary awards includes a special nomination for American Voices for junior Ian Partman’s personal narrative, “In Praise of Immortality: Mama Daisy’s Death Sentence in the Afterlife of Slavery.”

In the narrative, Partman tells of the passing of his grandmother in the context of historical medical experimentation of black people through the generations and was only one of five literary works selected for the prestigious nomination.

Maret is not the only D.C. private school chasing the number of awards GDS receives. The National Cathedral School received 21 literary awards, Sidwell Friends School received 16 and St. Albans School received four.

Annie Rosenman ’21