Writing Competition

Celebrating Student Writing


inspired writingThe YES! Exemplary Essay Project demonstrates how teachers can use YES! Magazine stories as the basis for thought-provoking writing. It also gives students an opportunity to voice their opinions and show off their stellar writing.

Learn how to participate in the YES! Exemplary Essay Project.

Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" Middle School Winner Eva Vallier
Read Eva’s essay, “Stolen Stories,” about longing to hear her family’s stories about the Japanese internment and experiencing the weight of history.
Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" High School Winner Alejandra Wagnon
Read Alejandra’s essay, “Broken Mirror,” about the challenge of living up to people's expectations and wanting to be true to one’s self.
Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" University Winner Remy Stewart
Read Remy’s essay, “To Walk the World on Trembling Legs,” about traveling while disabled and disrupting the notion of "go as you please" that many take for granted.
Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" Powerful Voice Winner Rhys Hardiman-Mostow
Read Rhys's essay, "A Break From Racism," about standing up to racism as a young Black woman with big dreams.
Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" Powerful Voice Winner Jake Hill
Read Jake’s essay, “Kayla,” about the experience of unexpected loss and learning to trust the journey.
Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" Powerful Voice Winner Heriberto Nava
Read Heriberto’s essay, “Same Dreams, Different President,” about using the power of his voice to stand up for immigrants and DACA recipients, especially those he holds close.
Winter 2018: "Less Stuff, More Heart" Literary Gems
We received many outstanding essays for the Winter 2018 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Christopher Zumski Finke's Response to “Less Stuff, More Heart” Essay Winners
Christopher Zumski Finke responds to the winners of our Winter 2018 Student Writing Competition.
Spring 2018 National Student Writing Competition: Letters of Hope
For the 2018 spring writing competition, students will write a letter to someone they look up to, describing a future they imagine and hope for our country.
Fall 2017 National Student Writing Competition: Standing Up for Our Neighbors
Want to inspire your students to write? Here's an opportunity to write about something meaningful and for an audience beyond the classroom.
Fall 2017: "Standing Up for Our Neighbors" Middle School Winner Ruby Rose Coney Wynne-Jones
Read Ruby's essay, "It Would Mean the World to Me," about not labeling students with dyslexia as stupid and instead getting them the help they need.
Fall 2017: "Standing Up for Our Neighbors" High School Winner Adithi Ramakrishnan
Read Adithi's essay, "Escaping the 'Other' Side," about embracing both her Indian and American roots—and how to get beyond unfriendly stares in public.
Fall 2017: "Standing Up for Our Neighbors" University Winner Amber Huff
Read Amber's essay, "To Know Her is to Love Her," about what she found beneath the hoodie and ink-stained knuckles of a new library visitor.
Fall 2017: "Standing Up for Our Neighbors" Powerful Voice Winner Alexandria Lutinski
Read Alexandria's essay, "An Unanswered Cry for Help," about living her own life after her snow globe world shatters.
Fall 2017: "Standing Up for Our Neighbors" Powerful Voice Winner Aly Terry
Read Aly's essay, "Highs and Lows," about how everyone can support people with bipolar disorder by helping them see not just the ups and downs, but all things beautiful in-between.