Essay & Writing Contests for 2013-2014 (Elementary, Middle, and High School)

Great list of essay & writing contests for elementary, middle school, and high school students

Good News Now America Homeschool Writing Contest

Ages: 7-19

Topic: Just about anything! The article just needs to be 800 words or less and each student can submit two entries.

Deadline for Entry: March 15, 2014

Awards: Ages 7-10: $25 cash prize; Ages 11-14: $50 cash prize; Ages 15-19: $75 cash prize; All winners' articles will be featured on the front pages of the GNN America website launch and will have a chance to win a spot on the front page of their website. Winners' names will also be published in GNN America ad in the fall issue of the AFHE Journal.

AKC Fiction Writing Contest

Grades: any grade or age

Topic: Stories should feature either a purebred or mixed breed dog. (No talking dogs, please.)

Deadline for Entry: January 31, 2014

Awards: First place, $500; Second place, $250; Third place, $100; and winning stories will be published in AKC Family Dog (as space allows)

Young Playwrights Inc. National Playwriting Competition

Age: up to 18 years old

Topic: Style, subject, and length are up to the playwright.

Deadline for Entry: January 2, 2014

Awards: There is no cash prize for this contest, but up to 25 finalists are chosen after an extensive review process, and those winners receive valuable written feedback from the judges, who are distinguished alumni of Young Playwrights Inc.

NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund Essay Contest

Grades: K-12th

Topic: The Second Amendment to the Constitution: Why it is important to our nation.

Deadline for Entry: December 1, 2013

Awards: First place cash prizes are $1,000, $600 for second place prizes, $200 for third place prizes, and $100 for honorable mention.

Creative Communication Poetry Contest

Grades: K-12th

Topic: Students can write on any appropriate subject (No pro-violence, pro drugs, etc)

Deadline for Entry: December 5, 2013; April 10, 2014; August 19, 2014

Awards: For each contest deadline, the top ten entries in each grade division will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Creative Communication Essay Contest

Grades: 3rd-12th

Topic: Students can write on any appropriate subject (No pro-violence, pro drugs, etc)

Deadline for Entry: October 15, 2013; February 18, 2014; and July 15, 2014

Awards: For each contest deadline, the top ten entries in each grade division will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Letters About Literature

Grades: 4th-12th

Topic: Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally.

Deadline for Entry: Grades 9-12 postmarked by December 10, 2013; Grades 4-8 postmarked by January 10, 2014

Awards: One National Winner per competition level will receive a $1,000 cash award. One National Honor winner per competition level will receive a $200 cash award.

National WWII Museum Essay Contest

Grades: 5th-12th

Topic: "How can people who disagree still work together for victory?" Themes and prompts will be announced Monday, January 6 on the National WWII Museum website. If you'd like to be notified when the contest opens, you can sign up for their monthly newsletter, Calling All Teachers.

Deadline for Entry: Not known yet. Details will be announced on their website on Monday, January 6, 2014.

Awards: High school contest winners: First place $1,000; second place $750; and third place $500. Middle school contest winners: One first place winner from each grade will receive $250. All winning essays will be posted on their website.

 JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Grades: 9th-12th

Topic: Students are asked to write an original and creative essay of 1,000 words or less that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.

Deadline for Entry: January 6, 2014

Awards: First place winner receives receives $10,000 (a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 to grow in a John Hancock Freedom 529 College Savings Plan); Second place winner receives a $1,000 cash award; Up to five finalists each receive a $500 cash award.

First Freedom Essay & Video Contest

Grades: 9th-12th

Topic: Should the advancement of freedom of religion be a part of U.S. foreign policy? If so, why? If not, why not? AND How does Eleanor Roosevelt's statement that universal human rights begin in "small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world" apply to you and the impact that you and your generation can have on the advancement of freedom of religion and conscience now and in the future, at home and abroad?

Deadline for Entry: Online—November 18, 2013; Postmark & Video Upload—November 25, 2013

Awards: $2,500

We The Students Scholarship Contest

Grades: 9th-12th

Topic: Answer 3 questions about the ideas of the Constitution and your role as a citizen. (You can read the details of the three questions at the contest website.)

Deadline for Entry: December 6, 2013

Awards: 1st Place – $4,000; 2nd Place – $2,000; 3rd Place – $1,000; Honorable Mention (2 prizes) – $500

18th Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest

Grades: 11th-12th (or homeschooled 16-18 years old)

Topic: Respond to one of six topics related to the book Beowulf.

Deadline for Entry: April 14, 2014

Awards: Five winners are selected. Prize includes a check in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) to be used toward winner's tuition and/or expenses related to their higher education. Each prize also includes a Signet Classics Library for the winner's school library, or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner.

Civil Rights Today Essay Contest

Grade: 12th

Topic:  The topic of the essay is "Civil Rights Today." Civil rights are personal rights guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws enacted by Congress, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Civil rights include, for example:

  • freedom of speech
  • the right to vote
  • due process of law
  • equal protection under the laws
  • protection from unlawful discrimination

Issues related to civil rights include health care, religion and belief, voting, housing, employment, gender equality, immigration, racial justice, domestic violence, public accommodations, gay rights, Americans with disabilities, and others.

For this contest, essays must articulate (1) how civil rights remains an enduring issue in society, and (2) one aspect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that impacts the writer’s life today.

Deadline for Entry: February 10, 2014

Awards:  $2,500 First place award, plus airfare and accommodations for the winner and his/her parent to attend one day of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in April 2014; $1,000 Second place award; $1,000 Award to first place winner’s sponsoring teacher, plus airfare and accommodations to attend one day of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in April 2014. The winners and three finalists will each receive a copy of The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency 1963-1969, by Lyndon Baines Johnson. All contest participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

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