Award Programs and Writing Competitions

I love the fact that some organizations critique student publications and recognize the outstanding ones. Of course, its the publishers themselves who know just how good their publication is. The organizations listed here have well-established reward programs and competitions. You will get all of the resources, information, guidelines, and entry forms you and your students will need by visiting the organizations web site. If your classroom/school publication is eligible, then talk it over with your students and see what they think about submitting their publication(s) for recognition or an award. Then go for it!

By all means, share your success stories with me and encourage your students also e-mail me their success stories, along with advice and suggestions for other students. I will post as many as I can.

Skipping Stones 2003 Youth Honor Awards
The 2003 Entries are due by June 20th, 2003.
The Annual Youth Honor Awards recognize creative and artistic works by young people that promote multicultural and nature awareness.

We encourage students ages 7 to 17 to enter the 2003 Youth Honor Awards (entries are due by 20 June 2003) on the themes :

Our World, Our Cultures, Our Lives, Connecting with Nature

Ideas to Get You Started:

What customs and celebrations are important to your family?

How can we/our society live in harmony with nature, reduce
pollution and be less wasteful?

What does spirituality mean to you? How do you include ethics or interfaith experiences in life?

What can we do to promote peace, social justice and equality? How can youth work on these issues? What are the difficulties?

What experiences have you had as a minority and as a youth?

When did you feel a bond or kinship with the natural world?

Which issues and current events are important to you and your
generation? Why?

Who are your role models?

How do you participate in your community? What are your rights and responsibilities?

Entry Guidelines:
Original writing (essays, interviews, poems, plays, short stories,etc.) and art (photos, paintings, cartoons, etc.)
from students ages 7 to17 should be typed or neatly handwritten. The entries should be appropriate for ages 8 to
16. Prose are limited to 750 words; poems to 30 lines.Non-English and bilingual writings are welcome.

You may also choose to highlight the work of a youth organization orgroup project. Using the same guidelines as above, tell us how the group works to preserve nature or enrich the community, its members and thelives of others.

Entries are due by 20 June 2003. Please include:
A cover letter telling about yourself and your submission, your
age, address, and telephone.
Certificate of originality from parent or teacher.
$3 entry fee (low-income entrants and subscribers can enter for
free)and a SASE. Every student who enters receives a copy of Skipping Stones featuring the winning entries

More Details:
Ten entries will be published in the Sep-Oct 2003 Issue (Vol. 15, no. 4). In addition to artistic or literary quality, submissions will be judged on their usefulness in promoting cultural diversity, interculturalexperiences, nature, ecology, resource conservation, social issues, peaceand non-violence.

Compositions (essays, poems, short stories, songs, travelogues, etc.) should be typed or neatly hand-written with a black ink pen. Fiction or non-fiction should be limited to 750 words and poems to 30 lines.

Award Programs

Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Its awards to recognize excellence in student media lists both individual and school-wide winners in middle school, high school, and college newspapers, magazines, and yearbooks for the past four years. Services by the CSPA include written evaluations, conducted by mail of individual student publications and planning and conducting the four conferences and workshops. CSPA also sponsors the Gold Keys awards to recognize excellence in people (e.g., educators, members of the professional press and others for their support of excellence in teaching journalism and in student media advising and for significant contributions to student journalism). This organizations sponsors several other award programs.

National Council of Teachers of English sponsors several student award programs.
NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing
Established in 1958; writing program open to high school juniors in the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad.

NCTE Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines
Established in 1984; writing program open to magazines published SeptemberJuly of that school year in senior high, junior high, and middle schools in the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad. 

NCTE Promising Young Writers
Established in 1986; writing program open to eighth-grade students in the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad.  

National Scholastic Press Association strives to help students and teachers improve their publications. It also assists students to become better reporters, writers, editors, photographers, designers, desktop publishers, and advertising and business staffers. They help advisors as well. Entry forms are available for download in PDF format for their annual Magazine, Yearbook, and Yearbook CD-ROM Pacemakers awards, plus Online Pacemaker awards.

Quill and Scroll, International Honorary Society for High School Journalists sponsors a number of writing, newspaper, and yearbook competitions each year. Quill and Scrolls purpose is to encourage and recognize individual student achievement in journalism and scholastic publication.

To be eligible for a Quill and Scroll charter, your high school must publish a magazine, newspaper, or yearbook. When a charter is granted, the publication advisor automatically becomes a member of Quill and Scroll. Only charter member schools may submit student names for nomination as Quill and Scroll members.

The Society also sponsors The International Writing, Photo Contest and the Yearbook Excellence Contest. Quill & Scroll magazine is filled with articles, pictures, news items, and helpful hints for students and advisors. The Society gives awards to outstanding newspaper, yearbook, and magazine staffs.

Writing Competitions and Publishing Opportunities

As an elementary school teacher, I am inclined not to involve individual students in writing competitions. However, some of my colleagues and I encourage entire classrooms to participate in contests, such as, The Brief Message from the Heart Letter Writing Contest. Find a select few competitions (1-3 per year) you want your students to enter and make it a classroom project where everyone is involved, including the teacher. The Letter Writing Contest is open to all ages, so I enter along with my students. I model for my students my approach and revision process to the pieces I am submitting.

Its a different ball game with middle and high school students. More contests are available to them, and they are more mature to handle rejection. The older students are able to participate in one competition after the other throughout the year. Although, I would recommend that they really have knowledge of past winners and understand the high standards and guidelines.

The following list, compiled by Linda Denstaedt for Clarkston High School, Clarkston, Michigan, includes, school, local, state, national and international competitions. Each competition has specific guidelines for submission. The postmark deadline may change from year to year. Some competitions require a fee or try to sell books to students. Adult competition and publication markets are open to advanced students.

The following books and magazines offer additional information on competitions and publications. Try these magazines: Writers Digest, Poets and Writers, and books: Writers Market (several different volumes which are organized by genre or young adult), Writers Guide for Young Writers, and The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses.

Dont forget to go first to those contest web sites.

Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to Grades K8 and is designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books.

Under the guidance of a project coordinator, children work in teams of three or more students to write and illustrate their own book. The creative process of working in teams helps provide a natural environment to practice editing, teamwork, and communication skills necessary for future success. All students involved get a sense of pride and accomplishment from submitting the team project.

Scholastic Book Fairs will publish the winning books and distribute them at Book Fairs throughout the country.

Contest: Ayn Rand Institute
Grades: 9-10
Genre: Anthem Essay
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: April 2

Contest: Ayn Rand Institute
Grades: 11-12
Genre: The Fountainhead Essay
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: April 16

Contest: Brief Message from the Heart Contest (Most of Chris Webers students enjoy this contest immensely and submit multiple entries.)
Grades: all ages
Genre: Letter of twenty-five words or less
Prize: Cash Prizes, Certificates so beautiful that they should be framed and hung on the wall
Postmark Deadline: November 30

Contest: Fulbright
Grades: 7-12
Genre: Essay
Contact: Fulbright Young Essayists Awards, c/o Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, 555 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10012
Prize: Entry Fee, Savings Bond
Postmark Deadline: January 18

Contest: Hemingway Writing Awards(look for Hemingway icon)
Grades: 9-12
Genre: Journalism: Features, News, Sports, Commentary
Prize: Scholarship
Postmark Deadline: January 15

Contest: Holocaust
Grades: 9-12
Genre: Essay
Contact: Children of HolocaustSurvivors
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: March 1

Contest: Lawrence Technological University
Grades: 11-12
Genre: Poetry, Short Story, Essay
Contact:(248) 204-3520
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: January 15

Contest: MADD
Grades: 1-12, 4-12, 7-12
Genre: Poster for 1-12, Essay for 4-12, Photography for 7-12, PSA Video for 7-12
Contact: Local chapter
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: January 31

Contest: Oatmeal Studios
Grades: Open
Genre: Greeting Cards
Contact: (802) 767-3171
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: Continuous

Contest: Penguin Putnam Inc.
Grades: 11-12
Genre: Essay
Prize: Scholarship
Postmark Deadline: April 15

Grades: 9-12
Genre: Poetry
(An amazing site of over 2.4 million poets and superb links and resources. It also sponsors: Poetry in Motion Contest, Haiku Contest, and an Online Poetry Contest.)
Prize: Fee for publication
Postmark Deadline: Continuous

Contest: Potato Hill Poetry Annual poetry contest for students and teachers.
Grades: Teachers K-12, students 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12
Genre: Poetry
Contact: 1-888-5 POETRY
Prize: Cash awards
Postmark Deadline: June 4

Contest: POP-TV Writing Contest
Grades: 9-12
Genre: Plot description for TV episode with Sprawl as subject
Prize: Cash prizes
Postmark Deadline: February 15

Contest: Princeton University
Grades: 11
Genre: Poetry
Contact: (248) 204-3520
Prize: Recognition
Postmark Deadline: March 1

Contest: PTSA Reflection
Grades: K-12
Genre: Literature, Photography, Music, Visual Arts
Contact: Call local PTSA
Prize: Recognition, Publication
Postmark Deadline: December 14

Contest: River of Words
Grades: K-12
Genre: Poetry & Artwork
Prize: Trip, Book and web site publication, T-shirt
Postmark Deadline: February 15

Contest: Scholastic
Grades: 7-12
Genre: All Genres & Visual Arts
Prize: Recognition, Scholarship
Postmark Deadline: January 18

Contest: Scholastic
Grades: 6-12
Genre: Lyrics
Prize: Concert
Postmark Deadline: April 28

Contest: Veterans of Foreign Wars
Grades: 10-12
Genre: Essay, Speech
Contact: (816) 756-3390
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: November 1

Contest: Veterans of Foreign Wars
Grades: 7-9
Genre: Essay
Contact: (816) 756-3390
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: March 15

Contest: Writers Digest
Grades: High School
Genre: Short Short Story
Contact: The Writers Digest Short Short Story Competition, 1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207
Prize: Cash
Postmark Deadline: December 1

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