The Satanic Temple has awarded “Devil’s Advocate” scholarships to four students across the United States. Each student submitted a creative work inspired by their own struggles at school and won a prize of $666.

In many schools across the States, time for recess is being reduced in exchange for more classroom time. Budgets for arts, music and culture are also being slashed to pump up students’ grades in subjects such as math and science. Creatively-minded kids aren’t having their needs met, but the Satanic Temple is encouraging American students to express themselves, regardless of religious affiliation.

The $666 prize was given to one elementary school student, one middle/high school student and two high school graduate/high education students.

The elementary school prize was won by Ollie from Texas. His prompt was “What do you hate most about school?” to which Ollie answered with a fantastic essay. One portion of Ollie’s essay reads:

Here is something I hate: having to write whatever the teacher wants you to write. I like writing a lot but only when I can write what I want. For example, last year, my teacher wanted me to write about animals. I chose to write about penguins but I really wanted to write about ninjas. I had to do all this research about penguins instead. It’s not fair.

Ollie is right! He should be able to write about ninjas if he wants to. Here’s a tip, Ollie — next time your teacher makes you write about animals, write a story about a ninja who has a pet penguin. Then you can write about ninjas while still doing the assignment. That, Ollie, is how you beat the system.

The middle/high school prize was awarded to Julianna from Massachusetts. Her prompt: “What creative or constructive things would you have accomplished if you hadn't been forced to go to school?” She wrote a poetic piece about being classified only by the grades you get. Here’s a first and last verse of her work:

%0
Total failure
A disgrace in the eyes of education
You reach for a book but your hand is slapped away;
The adventures of Odysseus have to wait,
Because idiots don’t get to choose their topics.

 

%100
Finally,
The little smiley face in the corner of your paper
Is your reward.
The tales of Zeus and Hera could never compare.
With a sigh of contentment
You reach for for Hesiod’s Theogony
But you hesitate;
Because the myths aren't going anywhere
And there is another test next week.
There will always be another test.

How amazing! You’re a philosopher and a poet in the making, Julianna. Keep up the great work.

The prompt for the final two prizes was “How did compulsory schooling inhibit you from achieving your potential?” The prizes were won by two high school graduate/higher education students: Jacqueline from California and Cortney from Pennsylvania.

Jacqueline created a haunting image representing her view of education. “This piece would be inspired by how compulsory education made me feel,” she wrote. “Having followed every rule and overworked myself in order to meet their expectations, the administrators and teachers who promised me they would assist me in my education would be the same who would drive me into a depressive state and talk behind my back. All I wanted was support and to be reassured yet, all I received was harsh criticism and snarky remarks.”

As for Cortney, she created a visceral graphic depicting a creative spirit being forcibly sewn into an academic body. Both images are well deserving of the scholarship prize and can be viewed here.

Congrats to all four winners and spend that $666 wisely!

25 Scaredy Cat-Approved Halloween Movies