YES! National Student Writing Competition
The YES! National Student Writing Competition is an opportunity for middle school through university students to write for a real audience—not just you, the teacher—and the chance to be published by an award-winning magazine.
Each quarter, students are invited to read and write an essay on a selected YES! Magazine article. We divide contestants into four categories: middle school, high school, university, and Powerful Voice (for authors whose essays are powerful and passionate). Winning essays in each category are published on the YES! Magazine website and in our online education newsletter.
Fall 2013 National Student Writing Competition:
This fall, students will read and respond to the YES! Magazine article, "From Kenya to Costco: The Real Value of Things," by Simon Okelo. Simon's story is about having to relearn the meaning of "enough." Simon grew up in the slums of Kisumu, Kenya, where he subsisted on basic necessities. There, he witnessed patience from families waiting for drinking water, and sold milk packets for two cents a piece to buy a pair of shorts for his school uniform. When he moved to the United States, he became an American consumer inundated by choices, until he decided to simplify his lifestyle.
Prompt: Your students should write an essay of up to 700 words answering this writing prompt: Simon Okelo, who grew up in Kenya, had to relearn what "enough" means. He came to appreciate the volume of options at Costco, but practiced restraint to purchase just what he needed. Imagine that you simplified your life. What things would you choose to pare down or get rid of? What might change for you? What might change for society if other people did this?
The deadline for registration is October 18. Essays must be submitted no later than November 22, 2013.
How does it work?
- Complete the competition registration form (see link at bottom of page)
- Students read and respond to the YES! article in up to 700 words.
- Submit up to three essays per class period, along with student release forms.
- For each of the following categories, YES! staff (and possibly the author of the article) will select one essay that we feel is well-written, compelling, and captures the spirit of the article:
- Grades 6-8
- Grades 9-12
- Powerful Voice (for an author whose essay is uniquely powerful or thought-provoking)
- The selected essays will be featured on the YES! Magazine website and in our online education newsletter, reaching thousands of YES! readers, including over 26,000 teachers.
- Teachers who submit essays will be entered into a drawing to win a complete set of 23 YES! posters for their classroom, valued at $66. See what you could win here!
Common Core State Standards:
This writing competition meets several Common Core State Standards for grades 6-12, including W.9-10.3 and W.9-10.4 for Writing, and RI.9-10.1 and RI.9-10.2 for Reading: Informational Text *
*This standard applies to other grade levels. “9-10” is used as an example.
Who is eligible?
- You must be a classroom teacher—homeschool cooperative, resource centers, and schools outside the U.S. included—for your students to participate.
- Student writers should be in grades 6-8, grades 9-12, college/university, or adult continuing education.
What are the essay requirements?
- Respond to the article and writing prompt provided by YES!
- Provide an original essay title
- Reference the article
- No more than 700 words
- Must be original, unpublished work
- Teachers must read and submit their students' essays. Remember, the limit is three essays per class period! Please take time to read your students' essays to ensure they have met essay requirements, including correct grammar. Unfortunately, we cannot accept essays sent independently by students.
In addition, we are evaluating essays for:
- Strong style and personal voice. We encourage writers to include personal examples and insights.
- Originality and clarity of content and ideas
How do I submit the three best essays from my class?
- You must be registered for the competition by October 18, 2013.
- E-mail your three best student essays as word-processed document attachments (preferably Word and nor as a pdf or scanned document, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than November 22, 2013.
- Include a scanned, completed student release form with each submitted essay.
Questions? Please email email@example.com, and thank you for joining us!
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