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In January, Essie Martsinkovsky ’03 attended ARTS Week 2003, an elite workshop for young American artists. A short story, written for a Milton Academy class, earned her entry to the event.

Essie was among 100 young artists selected from a national pool of 6,544 applicants to attend ARTS Week 2003, an all-expense-paid week of workshops, master classes and showcase performances in Miami, Florida. She was one of 20 students chosen in the writing category for her short story, “An Excellent Dining Experience with a View of the Ocean.”

“I usually write poetry,” Essie said. “This the only short story I’ve written. It’s about an awkward encounter between a girl and her father that she hasn’t seen in a while.

“It was overwhelming and awesome to be with other people who care about writing and the arts, like I do,” Essie said. “All the writers read from their work, and it was interesting to hear their different styles. Besides the workshops, my favorite part of the week was going to performances by students in the other disciplines. The dancers there were amazing!” she said.

Essie counts among her favorite writers Flannery O’Connor, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and James Joyce. She said she’s also learned a lot from James Connolly, Milton Academy creative writing teacher. “He’s really good at encouraging developments in your work without telling you exactly how they should happen. He teaches you how to approach creative writing—not how to do the writing itself,” Essie said.

ARTS Week, January 7–12, is the national finals of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ (NFAA) Arts Recognition and Talent Search®(ARTS) program. During ARTS Week, panels of judges—experts in their art form—evaluate the young artists for cash awards and the chance to be named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and honored with a medallion in a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

The panel of judges for ARTS Week writers included playwright and actress Leslie Ayvazian; short story writer and winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award Dianne Nelson Oberhansly; and Nebraska’s official state poet William Kloefkorn.

ARTS alumni include Grammy-nominated singer/actress Vanessa Williams, renowned jazz musician Terence Blanchard and National Book Award nominee Allegra Goodman.

Essie also won the New England Poetry Club’s Ruth Berrien Fox Award, awarded to the best poem submitted by a Massachusetts high school student.