Flandreau senior Rachel Eastman has won a national scholarship for her writing, the second time the high schooler has been recognized for her talent.
Eastman was named a silver medalist with distinction in the Scholastic Writing Awards by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She is one of 30 students recognized nationally and received a $1,000 scholarship for her effort.
Eastman was chosen from a portfolio of her work, that included seven pieces of work, including six short stories in the genre of mystery, sci-fi, drama and thriller.
More than 80,000 students submitted nearly 230,000 works of art and writing to the contest.
Eastman, 18, said she writes at least three times a week and gets her ideas through life experiences.
“I see something in real life and get inspired. I go off that with my imagination and creativity,” she said.
As a sophomore, Eastman also was rewarded for her writing skills by winning a silver medal nationally for the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards for her fiction novel, “The Daniel Project.”
She first was recognized at the state level with a Gold Key before advancing to the national competition among teens in grades 7-12 in 29 categories.
Her teacher at Flandreau High School, Jamie Fryslie, said Eastman has grown as a writer and is taking more risks with her stories.
“As a sophomore, Rachel was interested in writing novel-length fiction that seemed to be greatly influenced by her own life experiences. This year, Rachel’s portfolio included a great variety of writing, almost all in short story form,” Fryslie said.
Eastman also works on her skills.
“Rachel is the most prolific student writer I have ever worked with. She understands that good writing comes from practice,” Fryslie said. “All of your writing won’t be good, but the more you work that writing muscle, the better of a writer you will become; this is a hard concept for many students to understand. But Rachel makes time to write.”
Eastman, who was a remote learner her senior year, also has completed all of her coursework in order to graduate in May. She is one of two students who completed early.
Eastman also works as a server at her uncle’s downtown café, the Hunkake Café.
She plans to attend Hunter College in New York City, a public school where she will major in English literature and possibly secondary education.
But her first goal is to be a professional writer someday. She recently got a tattoo of a manual typewriter to celebrate her love of writing.
“I would like to be a professional writer at least by the time I’m 30. If I would have to get a second job, I would like to be a teacher,” she said.