Every year, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards honor the best high school and middle school students in a variety of categories, including painting, journalism and fiction. Past winners include leaders and luminaries in their respective fields, including Joyce Carol Oates, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote. Some 185,000 pieces of art and writing submitted this year, and eighteen-year-old Haris Durrani was one of seven high school seniors to win a gold medal for a portfolio of writing, out of 3,000 portfolio entries.
In addition to awards in every category, gold medals are given to the best teenage writers and artists in the nation. Many of the pieces in Durani's winning portfolio focus on race, religion, immigration and American identity.