Div Walia of Dawson HS Takes Top Honors at Scholastic Awards

PEARLAND: Divjot “Div” Walia, a 17-year-old senior at Glenda Dawson High School, in Pearland is one of 16 students recently awarded the Gold Medal Portfolio in the 96th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Gold Medal Portfolio is the highest honor in the Awards and comes with a $10,000 scholarship.

Walia, a 17-year-old from Pearland, is one of 16 students selected to receive the Gold Medal Portfolio, which includes a $10,000 scholarship, in the 96th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
Walia’s nationally recognized writing portfolio “Vellichor” is a collection of personal memoirs and critical essays through which he explores controversial topics and ethical dilemmas that have shaped his passions and opinions.

In his critical essays, Walia navigates divisive topics and institutions like artificial intelligence: “As the prospect of AI Armageddon approaches, the value of human labor asymptotically diminishes, but ultimately, we know there is something more — something innate — in the value of human labor. And if we are to preserve this essence, even if for our own comfort, one thing is certain: machines are not our friends.”

In his personal memoirs, Walia writes about his Indian racial identity and reflects on moments where he questions his ethics. In his favorite piece “Consider the Elephant,” Walia reflects on the first time he met an elephant: “I evaluated my own moral repugnance. I stand idle, observing all other injustices that occur in a developing country such as India, but when it comes to striking an animal (who happens to have incredibly thick skin), I draw the line.”

This year, 340,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication by a distinguished panel of creative-industry experts. As a Gold Medal Portfolio recipient, Walia will have his work publicly displayed in the Art.Write.Now.2019 National Exhibition and will be honored on June 6th at Carnegie Hall as part of a weeklong national celebration in New York City.

Walia plans to major in mechanical engineering and attend law school in the future. Walia’s parents hail from New Delhi, India and both came to the U.S. in the early 1990s.”

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and are made possible through the generosity of Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., The New York Times, New York Life Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Poetry Foundation. For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, visit www.artandwriting.org