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Vancouver Teen Grace Aoting Yao Wins Gold Key in 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Fifteen-year-old Grace Aoting Yao from Vancouver, Canada has recently been awarded the Gold Key in the 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her remarkable short story titled, "June in Vancouver". Grace, a grade 10 student at Collingwood School, has a passion for math, computer science, and English literature. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf, reading, and writing creatively.


Grace's award-winning short story is about a married Chinese couple who have come to Vancouver because the wife in the narrative has decided she wants to get an education in Canada. Without planning it, one of them decides that they want to stay in Canada, while the other stubbornly wants to return. The story is inspired by a close friend of Grace’s, whose parents were going through similar circumstances, yet the ending is all Grace’s own creation.


Grace’s enthusiasm for creative writing was first sparked in Grade 9 Humanities, where she wrote her first short story. She was surprised by how much she enjoyed creating characters and thinking about plot details. After receiving a high grade and positive reactions from her parents and friends, Grace decided to enter the Scholastic Awards.


The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. Grace is one of the few to receive the Gold Key award, and is the only student from Collingwood to have won an award this year.


When asked about her experience with the contest, Grace responded, “I’m really proud of myself for taking a chance and entering the Scholastic Awards. It was really exciting to see my name amongst the winners and to be rewarded for something I love doing. I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to writing more stories in the future.”


The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are a great way for teens to express their creativity, and Grace’s award-winning story is proof of that. Congratulations to Grace Aoting Yao for her amazing achievement!



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