It is with great enthusiasm that I continue to offer the Inspired Scribble creative writing scholarship to Monmouth Regional High School’s AP Humanities class for the second year in a row. Here’s a recap of Academic Awards Night on June 12, when I congratulated the 2013 winner, Amanda Tursi, for her award-winning submission.
Hello everybody. I am here to award one student with $500 for the Inspired Scribble creative writing scholarship. My name is Kristen Dalton and I am the founder Inspired Scribble, which encourages students to take up the pen and write their lives. This year’s prompt, Being Fearless in Moments of Change, was perhaps the most difficult thing I could have challenged the students with. I wanted to know what that defining moment looked like. What did it sound like? Feel like? Was it a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual revolution? These are complicated dynamics. Ones that wrestle with risk and reward, action and inaction, sacrifice and redemption. Consequences, good and bad. Above all, in the context of their stories, I asked for the definitions of three words: Fearless. Moment. Change. These young writers had to give purpose and meaning to the connections they made.
Despite the complexities, I offered the prompt in good faith, knowing that those who dared to sit themselves down with the intention to pursue their wildest imaginations and confront their terrifying faults, however they were perceived to be, would themselves be changed through the act of writing. Somewhere between the decision to begin and the confidence to put an exclamation point on their work, was a moment of change they had unknowingly been fearless in.
My hope was that this very real transformative act would be equally mirrored int he stories they wrote. Yes, the prompt was difficult and demanding. But these students discovered an antidote: curiosity. By writing their nonfiction, fiction, short stories and poems, they got lost in, and simultaneously discovered themselves in parallel worlds that allowed them to play by their own rules, and infused in them the audacity to break those rules in order to discover fearlessness. There was one writer in particular who made me do the same.
Amanda Tursi is this year’s winner for the Inspired Scribble creative writing scholarship. I applaud Amanda for addressing these complexities with a depth, fortitude and quiet honesty that made me rethink my own definitions of fearlessness and change. She liberated me from the limitations of my one-dimensional thinking by adding multiple layers of her own. Being Fearless in Moments of Change was not some grand concept anymore. Amanda’s story gave it lungs, skin, eyes, a heart and a voice. Her characters became the friends I had in high school. And beyond the barriers of a narrative’s basic setting, character development and plot, Amanda made real the dynamics of her story’s universal reach so that other might relate and find parallel applicability to their own lives. Something few writers have the maturity and ability to achieve.
Amanda, you are a phenomenal young writer, and I encourage you to continue to take up the pen and write with gusto. Your words can simultaneously liberate and connect, and it is simply magic when you do so. Thank you for embracing change, being fearless of the unknown and for taking an intentional moment to be curious. Just to see what would happen.
Congratulations! It is my honor to award you this scholarship.