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PDS Announces Winners of National Scholastic Gold and Silver Medals for Art and Writing
PDS Announces Winners of National Scholastic Gold and Silver Medals for Art and Writing

Earlier in 2019, Princeton Day School announced that 80 art and writing submissions from a few dozen Upper School students earned New Jersey or Northeast region Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, including Gold and Silver Key Awards and Honorable Mentions. The work of our 10 Gold Key winners, who earned a total of 20 state and/or regional Gold Key awards -- Nina Ajemian '19, Allison Liang '22, Audrey Liang '20, Jessie Lin '21, Lydia Pamudji '19, Bolin Shen '22, Vibhu Singh '19, Hannah Su '20, Elsie Wang '19 and Yishi Wang '21 -- moved on to national award adjudication this spring. We're pleased to announce that three students from this group have been honored with National Gold and/or Silver Medal Scholastic Art & Writing Awards:

  • Jessie Lin '21 earned a Gold Medal for her poem, "interview (at the women's shelter)." Jessie also earned a Silver Medal for her painting, "A Quiet Morning in Yakage, Japan."
  • Lydia Pamudji '19 won a Silver Medal for her poem, "(Un)apologetic."
  • Elsie Wang '19 won a Gold Medal for her poem, "Storm from Shotgun."

The 2019 Scholastic art and writing competition included nearly 340,000 entries from students across the country. Submissions are juried by an impressive roster of visual and literary artists seeking "works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision," according to the website. The state and regional Gold Key winners are then judged by a national panel to receive National Medals that include Gold and Silver Medals, American Voices & Visions Medals, Special Achievement Awards and more. National Gold medalists are invited, along with two guests, to the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City, held this year on Thursday, June 6.

Congratulations, Jessie, Lydia and Elsie for your impressive work and your national Gold and Silver Medal Awards!

- Melanie Shaw

Photo: painting by Jessie Lin '21, "A Quiet Morning in Yakage, Japan"

interview (at the women's shelter), poem by Jessie Lin

there's red watercolor dripping down your chin, dark and rich in pigment. it mixes with the trail of water snaking down from the corner of your eye. (he calls this the wet on wet technique.)

"your husband is a painter?" the woman asks.
her eyes crinkle a smile, and you imagine his fingers squeezing yours. (you know he won't let go.)
and so you nod.

(you paint too, but you never tell her that as you swirl on layers of foundation and concealer and powder.)

claude monet would love the way the light hits purples and yellows and greens on your body as jackson pollock splatters on the bathroom tile. pablo picasso would call this your blue period. (and honestly-- who needs a museum when it's already all around you?)

"you must be his muse then?" "something like that, yeah."

Storm from Shotgun, poem by Elsie Wang

On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops stormed through Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) Square, opening fire at the crowd of nearly a million Chinese protesters. At least 300, perhaps 10,000, lives were estimated to have been lost during the brutal massacre.

As with all storms,
this one was prefaced by a forbidding stillness. Save some one-hit wonder
crooning for a second chance
on the radio.
Then the last cloud
could no longer bear the weight.

The radio chatters its teeth as if against some biting cold – Switch – Ma's fingers flip the station.


Paper-thin voices wander through the square like lost children

borne against asphalt by some piercing firearm aubade.

Somewhere ruby lanterns once swam through the sky, snipers in dusky green

rained down brass shell kisses from rooftops and tires embraced flesh of solidarity.

Umbrellas gasp against tear gas.

The Tank Man with the shopping bags tries to restructure the universe but becomes red calligraphy (perhaps...)

Over the plaza, the clicking of rickshaws bicycles boring towards hospitals

mimic the iambic palpitations of
as if trying to sync life back into furrowed boys and girls. Wondering:

heart beat

how to hold a heart,

to see it

to know it
Without tearing through skin and bone?

If the guns had just lowered their voice by one lash, one would have heard the resonant crack of a billion hearts


and heaven would be restored.

Maybe then the splinters would pierce the starry-eyed flag


Ma listens to the storm from shotgun,
longing for a goodnight glass of carmine wine.

(Un)apologetic, poem by Lydia Pamudji

I'm sorry

that you always feel the need to comment on my eyes.

The concern is acknowledged,

but please rest assured

that I can walk through the world

without bumping into shit

because I can see.

And I can see.

I see

every aggressor playing victim

every glare behind turned backs

every "I'm not racist" scenario

every word that lingers on the lips

of both the mindless

and the reluctantly silenced.

I'm sorry

that my dresses do not look good on me

but only look good on people

who look like you.

That my culture is a fad

that you say died

back when we were in middle school.

But when it comes back,

I'll have no choice but to grit my teeth

and brush it off

when you make the executive decisions

on what's acceptable.

I'm sorry

that you can't label my country on a map

or attempt to pronounce my name

or that you shift uncomfortably

when anyone goes as far as to even utter the words

"race," "diversity," "oppression," "slavery," "appropriation,"

and that it makes you uneasy

when we speak our language to feel at home.

Thanks for giving us such a lovely home, by the way.

I'm sorry

that you say I shouldn't be so offended or sensitive.

That you feel attacked

when no one's laid a finger on you

and that you're bounded by the chains

of your self-proclaimed oppression

and stuck in all the holes you dug yourself

in attempt to trap others merely passing through.

I'm sorry that you think I can't see.

That I don't see.

Don't hear.


I'm sorry that you can't either.