NationalwinnersRed Bank Regional Creative Writing teacher Dr. Gretna Wilkinson  is pictured at center with RBR students Mya Nunnaly and Liv Winnicki. Mya and Liv were respectively winners of National Gold and Silver Medals in the annual Scholastic Art Awards, with Mya also winning a prestigious Gedenk Award, seeing her poem published in the competition’s 2015 National Catalog, and meeting both Chelsea Clinton and Whoopi Goldberg at the Carnegie Hall ceremony. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

One of the most popular Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) programs at Red Bank Regional High School is Creative Writing. Every year, Dr. Gretna Wilkinson’s students make her proud at the national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and this year was no exception, with 32 RBR Creative Writing Majors winning three dozen gold and silver medals, as well as 16 Honorable Mentions at the regional level.

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Giana AprezaPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

Two and one half years ago, Red Bank Regional High School junior Giana Apreza entered high school as most teens do, excited about the prospects of a new school experience. The youngest of three children, and the only one still at home, she was particularly close to her mother, Cathleen – and although the Neptune City resident loved to write, she did not feel enough confidence to try out for RBR’s Visual & Performing Art Academy’s popular and competitive Creative Writing program; electing instead to attend RBR’s Academy of Finance.

During her freshman year, right around the holiday season, Giana’s world suddenly changed with the tragic, unexpected death of her beloved mother from an undiagnosed heart ailment. Although her family was a great comfort to her — particularly her father, who immediately assumed both parental roles — Giana naturally struggled with her emotions when she returned to school just a few days following her mother’s passing.

“I was all emotion on the surface, boiling over,” she recalls. “It was very difficult for me…(and) it was difficult for friends to understand what you are going through, since they don’t have much experience with trauma and loss. It was hard for them to deal with such raw emotion.”

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