Student:

Julian Glander.

School:

Garnet Valley High School in Concord Township, where he is a senior.

Achievement:

Glander, 17, of Bethel Township, was one of 1,138 students to receive national recognition in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program. More than 100,000 entries were submitted in the contest.

As one of about 480 national gold key recipients, Glander will attend an award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York and three days of writing and career workshops at NBC, the New York Times and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in June. He entered his short story, "Canadian Penny," in the humor category.

Glander will attend Boston University this fall.

Question:

How did it feel to receive the award?

Answer:

I wasn't expecting it at all. It was just kind of something I did the night before it was due. But it felt good. I was really honored.

Q:

What is the story about?

A:

It's basically a story about a guy, a teenage kind of guy. He goes to the gas station, and he's frustrated by the take-a-penny, leave-a-penny tray, because there's no pennies in it. And he's just having a bad night.

And then he goes outside, and it turns out he's ordered gas on the wrong pump and someone else has taken his gas from him. But it kind of has a little romantic twist at the end. He finds some romance at the gas station, and everything turns out OK.

Q:

When you approach writing, do you aim to write a humor story, or do you simply write a story and see what happens?

A:

Basically, everything I write ends up being humorous. I just can't help it. I try to write something serious, but I just put jokes in it. It's just how I write. It's who I am.

Q:

How long have you been interested in writing?

A:

I've always liked writing. It's always been my thing. I would write stories in kindergarten, and read them to the class, and they loved them.

But [English teacher Heather Arters] really inspired. She really made me realize how much I enjoyed writing."

Q:

Favorite writers?

A:

I love Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk - that kind of stuff, kind of intellectual, humorous, but a little dark.

Q:

What are you involved in at Garnet Valley?

A:

Well, I just moved here this year, and I haven't really gotten involved in that much. But in my own free time, I do graphic design. I have my own Web site. I've done some T-shirt designs.

Q:

How long have you been doing graphic design?

A:

Just a couple years, doing it in my spare time. I just kind of taught myself how to do it.

Q:

How did you get set up with T-shirt designs?

A:

There's a Web site called threadless.com, and it's basically an open T-shirt design competition. And you can submit anything you want, and if they like it, they'll make it into a T-shirt and pay you and sell it.

And I just started doing that for fun, and one of my designs ended up winning. And from there, I just kept doing it.

Q:

What will you study at Boston University next year?

A:

Advertising. . . . I just think it would be a good way for me to kind of combine writing and creative [work and] be able to express ideas and communicate them on a large scale.

What a teacher says:

"He is unequivocally one of the best writers I've ever had in humor. He's naturally very funny, but he can translate that humor into his writing," said Arters, Glander's Advanced Placement English teacher.

"He has a very dry wit. He reminds me of Monty Python, where he has the silliness but he also has kind of intellectualism behind it. I don't think he has any idea how talented he really is."

- Ed Mahon

Student Spotlight

"He got in the car, put the hot chocolate in one cup holder and the change into the other: three quarters, two nickels, a dime, three pennies, and something that wasn't really anything at all: a Canadian penny.

"One interesting fact about the Canadian penny (and believe it, there are many) is that the Canadian penny, being worth even less than an American penny, is not actually used in Canada, or anywhere in the world for that matter. In 1975, the Society of Freemasons designed and minted over 200 million of them in an attempt to inconvenience and ultimately break down American vending machine companies. It was believed that Canadian pennies would bring about the eventual collapse of the entire U.S. economy, leaving America wide open to be overtaken by the Masons (as if it wasn't enough that they're already pulling all the strings behind NASA, Congress and PBS). The Canadian penny is about the same size as an American penny but it is three times as deadly if swallowed, as it is made of poison instead of copper. Also, it has a maple leaf on the tails' side instead of the Lincoln Memorial."