Q&A with Scholastic Writing Award Winner Henry Terlevich ’23

Shipley junior Henry Terlevich ’23 received a Silver Key Award for his poem, “Rosh Hashanah,” in the 2022 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, presented by Philadelphia Writing Project. Henry’s poem was recognized by a panel of creative professionals as the most outstanding work submitted by a group of his peers.

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized some of America’s most celebrated artists and writers while they were teenageers, including Tschabalala Self, Stephen King, Kay WalktingStick, Charles White, Joyce Carol Oates, and Andy Warhol.

Congratulations, Henry!

Learn more about Henry, his interest in writing and service, and how Shipley has pushed Henry to challenge himself in this Q&A.

What grade are you in and what grade did you come to Shipley?
I am a junior and came to Shipley in fifth grade.

How do you feel about winning this award?
It's an honor to be recognized for poetry that I wrote to express my emotions and ideas as a person of Jewish faith. I hope to be able to continue to use my skills in poetry and creative writing that I've developed while at Shipley.
What was the inspiration for this poem and why did you write it?
The juxtaposition of my personal identity and religious identity inspired me to write this poem. I often challenge my own views and perceptions via poetry. I truly wanted to analyze how my emotional beliefs influence my spiritual connection with Judaism.
What are some of your interests/hobbies? What activities are you involved in (in and outside of school)?
I have a lot of hobbies. Outside of school, I spend time working on an e-commerce business I started a few years ago in the design space and with a local nonprofit regarding design within the Circular Economy. 

Following the business theme, I love competing on behalf of Shipley in the DECA business club. I have been involved in the Shipley theatre program's costume design department throughout high school. This year, I'm head of the costume design team for the Addams Family Musical. 

I'm also a co-founder of the Jewish Cultural Club at school and am most proud of our recent collaboration with the Hebrew International Aid Society to welcome recent Afghan refugees resettling in the Philadelphia area. I enjoy doing community service work and have been the Class of 2023 Service Co-Head for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade. 

Can you tell me more about your work with the Hebrew International Aid Society (HIAS)?
I began working with HIAS in middle school outside of school. My co-chair and friend, Zoe Morse, and I coordinated this project with our club together. We reached out to their community organizer and asked if we might engage our club to help the refugee families. With our other 30 club members, we assembled welcome care packages during one of our meetings.
I am curious about your passion for service. Why do you like it and has Shipley cultivated the interest for you in any way?
I have always had a passion for service because I like to help people. Shipley has definitely cultivated the love of serving others, especially because there are supportive faculty who encourage service actions, such as Ms. Winters, the Service Learning Coordinator. 
In what ways has Shipley encouraged you to take risks and go outside of your comfort zone?
Shipley has not only pushed me to explore complex topics in my writing, but almost all of my teachers at Shipley have encouraged me to take risks by academically challenging myself. With such encouragement, I submitted my writing to be considered for the Compass freshmen year. The Compass is a literary magazine in which students can publish poems, essays, and short stories. Having my poetry published in our school’s literary magazine in both ninth and tenth grade eventually gave me the confidence to submit my work to various competitions. With the help of Ms. Workman, I decided to enter a poem into the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and I won a Silver Key Award! I now hope to enter a few more competitions before I graduate.
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.