The purpose of this thread to-
1. Tell people who are still in high school about the Awards, in case your teacher hasn't. http://www.scholastic.com/artandwrit...ndex_page6.htm
2. Connect with any previous winners and talk about the awards (I just got back from the awards ceremony in New York a couple days ago). We could talk about whether the portfolio gold judging was sound, or how the workshops went, etc...
3. Explain how to get money through Scholastic.
The Scholastic awards are a good way to obtain scholarship money, especially if you win on the national level. The Scholastic Awards is a prestigious (and HUGE) national art contest (with regional levels) that gives recognition to High School and Middle School students in a variety of visual art (and also writing categories).
Something to keep in mind is that you don't necessarily need to be given scholarship money from the contest itself (in fact, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers [the people who host the National contest] directly give scholarships only to the national gold portfolio winners). HOWEVER, they have connections with a huge number of schools, who they notify if you get a national win. Just give them the name(s) of where you're applying and they'll send an announcement of what you won. So, through Scholastic, you ultimately win scholarship money from your desired college, not the Alliance itself.
From personal experience, my national portfolio award got me additional money on top of the scholarship they already offered me. Most colleges put a lot of weight on the scholastic judges (perhaps even more than their individual evaluators) so it's possible that you might end up getting more money from your college as a result of your award than what the college decides you should get for a scholarship.
As a warning, though, each school is different. Some might give out less money for the same thing. Sometimes it's a flat amount (like a few thousand) and other times it's variable.
Keep in mind that you don't have to win nationally in order to get money. Local sponsors (like colleges) can offer scholarships (especially for regional portfolio winners). Other colleges also offer scholarships for choice portfolios, around a few thousand. Third parties, anywhere from artists clubs to framing companies can also give "scholarships", which are really just cash prizes. They're assuming you're going to use the money for college (or hoping you will, hehe). Usually these cash prizes are under $1000.00.
MY BIG ADVICE HERE IS TO ENTER A PORTFOLIO YOUR SENIOR YEAR, not a whole bunch of individual works. If you feel like you have eight strong pieces, by all means do so. You will get rewarded more financially. Additionally, because you're only allowed to enter a portfolio if you're a senior, you're competing with a smaller group. I was very close to making the mistake of entering several things separately, for fear that my stronger pieces might be "brought down" by my weaker ones. However, when I found out I was allowed to pull out pieces from previous years, I decided to enter the unit (with what I thought was my strongest piece entered separately).
From my experience, if you enter things most appreciated by this website, your chance of winning a gold national portfolio is pretty much nothing. The judges tend to heavily favor a "fine artsy" portfolio- no "illustration-type" stuff. They are also looking for consistency-- just about every single example of a national gold portfolio winner I've seen is made in the same medium, with the same type of subject matter, the same style, etc... They're looking for someone who's "found their voice", not even someone who's a "master of all trades". At least this is what I've seen with the winners of the last several years.
From one who judged the contest both locally and nationally: