Lincoln-Way West Student announced as 2017 Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Award Recipient
Monday, March 20, 2017

The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa has announced the regional award recipients of the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Presented by the nonprofit organization, the "Alliance for Young Artists & Writers," the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12. This program year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted to 118 Affiliate regions across the country. As one of the largest national affiliates, the Belin-Blank Center adjudicated nearly 10,000 pieces of art and writing from the Iowa and Midwest Regions.

On March 11, 2017 at the award ceremony in the University of Iowa Student Union, Lincoln-Way West senior Annelise Trout, accompanied by her parents and Creative Writing Club sponsor, received honorable mention for her writing portfolio.

“I am proud of Annelise, of course, for this incredible accomplishment and display of talent,” says Trout’s Creative Writing Club sponsor and Lincoln-Way West English Department Chair, Mary Hilbert. “However, I want to emphasize how impressed I am by her courage to submit a portfolio of work to a prestigious, highly selective contest. It takes a huge amount of courage to risk rejection, but, as Annelise has demonstrated, with great risk can come great reward.”

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, and Sylvia Plath. More recently, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, Zac Posen, and Lena Dunham received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards when they were teens.

It seems that Trout’s sources of inspiration have no limit. She says, “Some days, I can't quite focus on the task before me, and my mind begins to wander. ‘What would happen if that window shattered?’ Or sometimes I'll overhear a conversation and think, ‘That would make a great piece of dialogue.’ Or I'll see a sweater someone is wearing and begin constructing a character in my head. I suppose you could say that I'm inspired to write because I don't believe I could sit through a life void of inspiration. It would be far too mundane; I would likely end up in hibernation.”

Trout uses her inspiration as fuel for creativity, which extends through her writing. In one of her submitted pieces, Trout channeled her thoughts regarding the “thankless positions in our modern age, such as janitors, secretaries, and moms.” She says, “One of the most thankless jobs I have observed is that that of the school bus driver, transporting dozens of kids who don't know his or her name, much less drop a thank you when they leave.” From this thought, Trout created April, a character in a short story that was submitted with her portfolio. The beginning reads:

April knew her route better than the wrinkles that were just starting
to crease her skin, like her body was a sheet of origami paper
waiting to realize its beautiful potential. Beautiful, she knew, just
wasn’t in her stars.

Like her mom and her mom’s mom before her, her curly blond hair fell
to her thick slab of shoulders, broad like a man’s, and her limbs
were overly thick in a way that might have been pleasant to a farmer,
but certainly not to April herself or the middle-class suburbs she
lived in.

Hilbert praises Trout’s obvious talent, but also emphasizes her desire to continue improving. Hilbert says, “Annelise’s portfolio demonstrates a huge amount of skill, but that was accomplished not on a first draft but through a willingness to accept critical feedback and revise again and again. I was very candid with Annelise about her writing and in recommending edits; she was open to critical feedback and worked for months on writing, revising, and preparing this portfolio.”

While college is on the horizon for the senior, Trout still looks to achieve more throughout her last few months at Lincoln-Way. She has recently been accepted for the second time with Creative Communications, a writing contest and publication.

Beyond graduation, she has yet to officially decide on a school, but Grand Valley State University is at the top of her list. Though she intends to continue writing, her interests aren’t limited to literature. “I’m currently planning on majoring in criminal justice, but I’m also looking into chemistry and information technology as other focuses,” says Trout.