Writing Competition

Celebrating Student Writing

 

inspired writingThe YES! National Student Writing Competition 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 exemplary writing.

Each quarter, students will have the opportunity to read and respond to designated YES! Magazine articles, using the same writing prompt to write a 700-word essay. One essay per age category is selected by YES! for being the most well-written and compelling, and for capturing the spirit of the article.  Read these model essays—some from the former YES! Exemplary Essay Project— in addition to responses from the articles' authors.

Learn how you and your students can participate in the YES! National Student Writing Competition.

"Learning That Matters" Middle School Winner Nancy Cullen
by Nancy Cullen
Nancy Cullen is a student at Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in New York City. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Nancy's essay about how a classroom visitor helped her share a secret with her classmates.
"Learning That Matters" High School Winner Jennifer Aguilera
by Jennifer Aguilera
Jennifer Aguilera is a student at the Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, Illinois. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Jennifer's essay about two teachers who taught her to love learning.
"Learning That Matters" University Winner Chiwon Lee
by Chiwon Lee
Chiwon Lee is a student at Cascadia College in Bothell, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Chiwon's essay about how her "Making It Real" class made her feel like a superhero in training.
"Learning That Matters" Powerful Voice Winner Salma Arredondo
by Salma Arredondo
Salma Arredondo is a student at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Salma's essay about her experience as a Mexican American in an American English class, and how she gained the confidence to let her light shine.
"Learning That Matters" Powerful Voice Winner Annabel Paul
by Annabel Paul
Annabel Paul is a student at Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in New York City. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Annabel's essay about why stories about transgender people should be included in the curriculum.
"Learning That Matters" Powerful Voice Winner Noah Carey-Smith
by Noah Carey-Smith
Noah Carey-Smith is a student at the Aveson School of Leaders in Altadena, California. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Noah's essay about how self-directed learning inspires him to make the world a better place.
Curtis Acosta's Response to "Learning That Matters" Essay Winners
by Curtis Acosta
Curtis Acosta responds to the winners of the Spring 2015 "Learning That Matters" essay competition.
"Learning That Matters" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Spring 2015 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"Letting Go of Worry" Middle School Winner Leah Berkowitz
by Leah Berkowitz
Leah Berkowitz is a student at West Valley City School in Spokane, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Leah's essay about replacing worry with bravery.
"Letting Go of Worry" High School Winner Rechanne Waddell
by Rechanne Waddell
Rechanne Waddell is a student at Cypress Springs High School in Cypress, Texas. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Rechanne's essay about the impact that worry has on her and her family.
"Letting Go of Worry" University Winner Noah Schultz
by Noah Schultz
Noah Schultz is studying for a double major in human development and sustainability through Oregon State University's online program. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Noah's essay about the role that worry has in his relationship with his father.
"Letting Go of Worry" Powerful Voice Winner Melanie Fox
by Melanie Fox
Melanie Fox is a student at Orchard View Charter School in Sebastopol, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Melanie's essay about how a person's worries can define them, for better or for worse.
"Letting Go of Worry" Powerful Voice Winner Carolina Mendez
by Carolina Mendez
Carolina Mendez is a student at Foundations Venture Academy in Stockton, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Carolina's essay about how letting go of worry helped her deal with the effects of Vitiligo, an autoimmune disease affecting skin pigmentation.
Akaya Windwood's Response to "Letting Go of Worry" Essay Winners
by Akaya Windwood
Akaya Windwood responds to the winners of the Winter 2015 "Letting Go of Worry" essay competition.
"Letting Go of Worry" Powerful Voice Winner Margaret O'Neil
by Margaret O'Neil
Margaret O'Neil is a student at Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colorado. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Margaret's essay about replacing her worry with gratitude.

Also in this section

"Learning That Matters" Middle School Winner Nancy Cullen
by Nancy Cullen
Nancy Cullen is a student at Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in New York City. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Nancy's essay about how a classroom visitor helped her share a secret with her classmates.
"Learning That Matters" High School Winner Jennifer Aguilera
by Jennifer Aguilera
Jennifer Aguilera is a student at the Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, Illinois. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Jennifer's essay about two teachers who taught her to love learning.
"Learning That Matters" University Winner Chiwon Lee
by Chiwon Lee
Chiwon Lee is a student at Cascadia College in Bothell, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Chiwon's essay about how her "Making It Real" class made her feel like a superhero in training.
"Learning That Matters" Powerful Voice Winner Salma Arredondo
by Salma Arredondo
Salma Arredondo is a student at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Salma's essay about her experience as a Mexican American in an American English class, and how she gained the confidence to let her light shine.
"Learning That Matters" Powerful Voice Winner Annabel Paul
by Annabel Paul
Annabel Paul is a student at Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in New York City. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Annabel's essay about why stories about transgender people should be included in the curriculum.
"Learning That Matters" Powerful Voice Winner Noah Carey-Smith
by Noah Carey-Smith
Noah Carey-Smith is a student at the Aveson School of Leaders in Altadena, California. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine interview with Curtis Acosta, "When This Teacher’s Ethnic Studies Classes Were Banned, His Students Took the District to Court—and Won" by Jing Fong. Read Noah's essay about how self-directed learning inspires him to make the world a better place.
Curtis Acosta's Response to "Learning That Matters" Essay Winners
by Curtis Acosta
Curtis Acosta responds to the winners of the Spring 2015 "Learning That Matters" essay competition.
"Learning That Matters" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Spring 2015 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"Letting Go of Worry" Middle School Winner Leah Berkowitz
by Leah Berkowitz
Leah Berkowitz is a student at West Valley City School in Spokane, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Leah's essay about replacing worry with bravery.
"Letting Go of Worry" High School Winner Rechanne Waddell
by Rechanne Waddell
Rechanne Waddell is a student at Cypress Springs High School in Cypress, Texas. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Rechanne's essay about the impact that worry has on her and her family.
"Letting Go of Worry" University Winner Noah Schultz
by Noah Schultz
Noah Schultz is studying for a double major in human development and sustainability through Oregon State University's online program. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Noah's essay about the role that worry has in his relationship with his father.
"Letting Go of Worry" Powerful Voice Winner Melanie Fox
by Melanie Fox
Melanie Fox is a student at Orchard View Charter School in Sebastopol, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Melanie's essay about how a person's worries can define them, for better or for worse.
"Letting Go of Worry" Powerful Voice Winner Carolina Mendez
by Carolina Mendez
Carolina Mendez is a student at Foundations Venture Academy in Stockton, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Carolina's essay about how letting go of worry helped her deal with the effects of Vitiligo, an autoimmune disease affecting skin pigmentation.
Akaya Windwood's Response to "Letting Go of Worry" Essay Winners
by Akaya Windwood
Akaya Windwood responds to the winners of the Winter 2015 "Letting Go of Worry" essay competition.
"Letting Go of Worry" Powerful Voice Winner Margaret O'Neil
by Margaret O'Neil
Margaret O'Neil is a student at Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colorado. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "Life After Worry" by Akaya Windwood. Read Margaret's essay about replacing her worry with gratitude.
"Letting Go of Worry" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Winter 2015 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Letting Go of Worry
by Jing Fong
What is one worry you’d like to throw away? What would you replace your worry with, and what would you—and possibly those around you— gain by not having that worry in your life?
About Student Writing Lessons from YES! Magazine
by Jing Fong
Use the YES! article, prompt, and sample essays in each writing lesson to bring the real world to your classroom—and to take your students’ writing to a new level.
Digital Empathy
by Jing Fong
What are some ways—digital or otherwise—that you get strength and support to fight world suck with awesome?
Restorative Justice
by Jing Fong
Do teachers and administrators at your school discipline students with dignity? Or with disrespect?