Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The New York City regional Scholastic Art & Writing awards were announced January 28. Congratulations to our SJB winners:

Sarays Cobo Sanchez ‘21 

yellow (happiness), Honorable Mention, Poetry

a dream and a drive, Honorable Mention, Writing Portfolio

Kayla Mora '22

Slowly Fading Away, Honorable Mention, Drawing & Illustration

Catherine King '23

Mass Cull of Minks in Denmark, Gold Key, Journalism (the article was published in the December 2020 issue of The Jeanite Tribune)

Maya Williams '23

Say Her Name, Gold Key, Photography

Civil Resistance, Honorable Mention, Photography

Covid Test, Honorable Mention, Photography

Pandemic 2020, Honorable Mention, Photography

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation's youth and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. Notable alumni include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, John Updike, Robert Redford, Stephen King, Zac Posen, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Cy Twombly, Lena Dunham, Amanda Gorman, and many more.

Each year, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary arts organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Teens in grades 7-12 can apply in 28 categories of art and writing for the chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited and published. 

Regional Gold Keys are awarded to the very best works submitted to local programs. They are automatically considered for national awards. NYC region Gold Key winners in the arts category will be exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Friday, March 19 - May 21 in the Uris Education Center wing with a virtual reception on Friday, March 19 at 7pm.

Continue reading two award-winning writing submissions.


Mass Culling of Mink in Denmark

by Catherine King '23


Denmark has been the largest mink producer in the world for decades, with forty percent of furs worldwide being exported out of the European country (Steller, 19). However, a new strain of COVID-19 has been found in minks, and it has spread to dozens of people, resulting in an emergency culling of millions of the animals. This tense situation has prompted many to ask: How far should we go to stop the spread of COVID, and at what point do we go too far? 

Minks, like bats and humans, are capable of contracting coronaviruses; this, along with their large numbers, has made them a major spreader or COVID-19. For factory farming, minks are crowded together in close quarters, furthering their capability to contract and give the disease to others (Erdbrink and Santora). However, the real concern is with animal to human infections, which can breed new strains that are hard to recognize and treat. "Minks can act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2, passing the virus between them, and pose a risk for virus spill-over from mink to humans....It remains a concern when any animal virus spills into the human population..." (WHO). A strain of COVID referred to as the "cluster 5" variant has been found to have mutated and jumped from minks to almost a dozen humans this past month, and it has caused concern that it could lower the effectiveness of a future vaccine. Not only is cluster 5 a danger, but it is likely that further mutations will keep occuring in the mink population as time goes on (Kevany).  

In response to this threat, the Danish government ordered mink farms to cull all of their animals; however, this decision hasn't come without backlash. In reality, the Dutch government has no legal basis to kill mink outside of the infected farms, and the ministers who pushed the order were aware of this (Erdbrink and Santora). This has caused political rifts, with Mogens Jensen, Denmark's agricultural minister, resigning after losing party support. Later, retroactive actions were taken to make the cull legal, but public opinion of the government had already fallen over twenty percent (Erdbrink and Santora). Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who had been praised previously for her handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, is now being scrutinized for the decision: "'Right now, we're at the good old political question of who knew what and when did they know it?...What you haven't really seen tied to Frederiksen-at least not yet-is a willingly unlawful act...'" (Abend) 

Outside of the political sphere, the mink industry has found itself in a tough position. For years, the fur industry has been under scrutiny from humanitarian groups, resulting in the ban of fur production in many countries. "The UK and Austria banned fur production years ago, Germany has phased it out and Belgium, France and Norway plan to as well" (Murray). The International Humane Society condemns the practice as cruel and inhumane, and countries like Sweden and Switzerland have raised the standards of mink farming so high that it has become economically unviable to raise them (Humane Society International). Right-wing parties in the Danish government have accused the rushed cull to be a guise for permanently ending mink farming, which very well may be the case in the next few years.  "Within a week or two, all the infrastructure will be gone...The implications are that Danish mink breeding is over'' (Abend). Humanitarian groups have praised the cull, saying that despite the massive loss of life, it will lead to the end of suffering for future mink generations (Erdbrink and Santora). 

Since the beginning of the cull, no new cases of cluster 5 have been detected in the affected areas, and all farms with the infected mink populations have been cleared (Abend). However, this is far from over. Mink populations all over the world have been shown to carry high rates of COVID-19, and Denmark's decision may prompt mass mink eradication in many other countries. This entire situation has only demonstrated further how fragile the coronavirus's impact has made society; one wrong decision can send waves throughout a population. For now, we need to remain vigilant, with the reminder that caution is of utmost importance.


Works Cited 

Abend, Lisa. "'I'm Only a Mink Killer': How COVID Caused Denmark's Historic Fur-Industry Disaster." Vanity Fair, 19 Nov. 2020, -caused-denmarks-historic-fur-industry-disaster

CBS News. "Thousands of Mink Culled over COVID Fears Rise from a Mass Grave in Denmark." CBS News, CBS Interactive, 27 Nov. 2020, -mink-covid-denmark-mass-grave/.

Erdbrink, Thomas and Santora, Mark. "The Culling of Minks in Denmark Prompts a Political Crisis." The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Nov. 2020, 2020/11/19/world/the-culling-of-minks-in-denmark-prompts-a-political-crisis.html.

Kevany, Sophie. "Denmark Announces Cull of 15 Million Mink over Covid Mutation Fears." The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Nov. 2020, environment/2020/nov/04/denmark-announces-cull-of-15-million-mink-over-covid-mutation-fears.

"SARS-CoV-2 Mink-Associated Variant Strain - Denmark." World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 10 Nov. 2020, associated-sars-cov2-denmark/en/.

Steller, Rose M. Furskins. Office of Industries, U.S. International Trade Commission, 2004. 

"The Fur Trade." Humane Society International, 13 Aug. 2020, fur-trade/.



yellow (hapiness)

by Sarays Cobo Sanchez '21


i used to think that yellow was such a beautiful color. 

as i grew older, it has become a normal color. 

it has becomes something that i am 

instead of something that i run from. 

yellow has become my best friend 

because i realized i am yellow. 

i deserve to wear yellow. 

i deserve to be yellow. 

yellow is no longer just a color,

it is my life. it is what i want to be.

i deserve to be happy. 

i deserve to be beautiful. 

i feel yellow because 

i am loved and i love.

i am loved and i love 

because i deserve it.