In addition to being considered for awards within their respective categories, two writers and two artists per grade 7–12 are chosen each year as the Best-in-Grade. Grouping students’ work by grade provides additional incentive for students to compete among their peers, and a grade-by-grade look into the varied work students produce.

Students and their educators do not apply for this Award, but rather are chosen for Best-in-Grade Awards by a special panel of national jurors.

Embedded Heritage, Painting by Maite Nazario, Grade 12, Age 18, Chattahoochee High School, Johns Creek, GA. Gold Medal, Best-in-Grade Award

Each of the 24 Best-in-Grade recipients receives a $500 prize. Congratulations to the 2017 Best-in-Grade Award recipients:

  • Grade 7: Annabelle Aarts Coley, Zoe Goldemberg, Sunaya D. Mueller, Hudson Quinn
  • Grade 8: Maddie Haas, Makiyah Harris, Sabrina Pan, Catherine Witherwax
  • Grade 9: Urvashi Deshpande, Skylar Graham, Kyra Mo, Akilah Toney
  • Grade 10: Alec Martinez, Susannah Pittman, Jungah Ellie Soh, Hazel Thomas
  • Grade 11: Julia Adkins, Kaley Mamo, Rachel Schlesinger, Ciara Sing
  • Grade 12: Zara Batalvi, Angela He, Maite Nazario, Jamison Rankin

Educators of these gifted students also receive a $250 prize. Congratulations to the 2017 Best-in-Grade educators:

  • Ross Abrams, Hastings High School, Hastings Hudson, NY
  • Beatrice Baldwin, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, TX
  • Marci Beene, Hutchinson Middle School, Lubbock, TX
  • Jill Burdick-Zupancic, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
  • Yoonhee Chung, Aineo Cultural Art Center, Suwanee, GA
  • Laura Conley, Oakton High School, Vienna, VA
  • Mara Cregan, Pittsburgh CAPA School, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Cathy Dentremont, Village High School, Houston, TX
  • Nick Geary, Goose Creek High School, Goose Creek, SC
  • Heather Hook, Westfall High School, Williamsport, OH
  • Yanbo Huang, Jericho Senior High School, Jericho, NY
  • Bryan Kessler, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ
  • Elizabeth Martinez, Langham Creek High School, Houston, TX
  • Suzanne McLeod, Flower Mound High School , Flower Mound, TX
  • Joe Medina, Harvard-Westlake Upper School, Los Angeles, CA
  • Lara Naughton, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA
  • Mark Opirhory, Basis Independent Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
  • Léna Roy, Writopia Lab, Cross River, NY
  • Robyn Royal, Hastings High School, Hastings Hudson, NY
  • Dorsey Sammataro, Chattahoochee High School, Johns Creek, GA
  • Aaron Taylor, Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY
  • Maggie Vidal-Santos, Ruth Broad/Bay Harbor K-8 Center, Bay Harbor Islands, FL
  • Melissa Walters, R.B. Chamberlin Middle School, Twinsburg, OH
  • Mike Wilper, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Victoria Woodruff, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, TX

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About Bloomberg Philanthropies


Special thanks to our partners at Bloomberg Philanthropies for their sponsorship of the Best-in-Grade Awards. Their continued support provides special recognition of students and educators representing the best, most original work by today’s teens.