YES! National Student Writing Competition

An opportunity for students to write for an audience beyond the classroom, and personally reflect on topics that can be transformational, even life-changing.

 

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.

Spring 2016: "What We Fear" Powerful Voice Winner Jonah Gold
by Jonah Gold
Read Jonah's essay, "A Future Me," about the challenge in balancing two different parts of himself, and his efforts toward becoming proud of the part he's less comfortable with.
Spring 2016: "What We Fear" Powerful Voice Winner Nicole Reiber
by Nicole Reiber
Read Nicole's essay, "The Monster Within" about relationships and career opportunities in her life that have been lost because of her self-sabotaging behaviors, and how self-respect has helped her fight this monster.
Spring 2016: "What We Fear" Literary Gems
We received many outstanding essays for the Spring 2016 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Spring 2016: Julie M. Elman's Response to "What We Fear" Essay Winners
by Julie M. Elman
Julie M. Elman responds to the winners of our Spring 2016 Student Writing Competition.
Winter 2016 National Student Writing Competition: Every Girl's Right
Want a motivator to take your students' writing to a higher level? Here's an opportunity to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" Middle School Winner Dakota Cline
by Dakota Cline
Dakota Cline is a middle school student at Horizons K-8 in Boulder, CO. He read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article, "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Dakota's essay, "To Say 'Nah'," about the one thing he, Malala, and Rosa Parks all share: the drive to rebel.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" High School Winner Hamna Khalid
by Hamna Khalid
Hamna Khalid is a junior at Haddonfield Memorial High School in Haddonfield, NJ. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Hamna's essay, "Education: Every Girl's Haq (Right) to Make Her Voice Heard," about amplifying the voices of those who have been less fortunate than her to receive a good education.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" University Winner Kelsi Belcher
by Kelsi Belcher
Kelsi Belcher is a freshman at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Kelsi's essay, "A Mother's Motivation," about how struggles through her adolescence presented her with a most precious opportunity.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" Powerful Voice Winner Edward Ramirez
by Edward Ramirez
Edward Ramirez is a freshman at KIPP Houston High School in Houston, TX. He read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article, "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Edward's essay, "Deprived of a Brain," about experiencing racism in school and his determination to continue learning despite the hurtful taunts and injustice.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" Literary Gems
We received many outstanding essays for the Winter 2016 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Winter 2016: Malala Fund Team's Response to "Every Girl's Right" Essay Winners
The Malala Fund Team responds to the winners of the Winter 2016 "Every Girl's Right" writing competition.
Fall 2015 National Student Writing Competition: Justice for All
Want a motivator to take your students' writing to a higher level? Here's an opportunity to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" Middle School Winner Cate Landry
by Cate Landry
Cate Landry is a student at Horizons K-8 School in Boulder, Colorado. She read and responded to the onlineYES! Magazine article, "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Cate's essay, "Stay Tuned to Change the World" about how being aware of what's in the news is the first step in the path to justice.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" Middle School/High School Winner Amani Lazarus
by Amani Lazarus
Amani Lazarus is a middle school student at Palmetto Scholars Academy in North Charleston, South Carolina. She read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Amani's essay, "A Deafening Silence," about how we can't stand quietly while others scream in pain, that we must speak for those who have been silenced by social injustice.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" University Winner Elizabeth Schmidt
Elizabeth Schmidt is a student at Kent State in Ohio. She read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Elizabeth's essay, "Compassionate Communities: Where Mindfulness Starts, Injustice Ends," about the importance of regaining the depth in our feelings so that we may live with awareness and connect with the rest of the world.

Also in this section

Spring 2016: "What We Fear" Powerful Voice Winner Jonah Gold
by Jonah Gold
Read Jonah's essay, "A Future Me," about the challenge in balancing two different parts of himself, and his efforts toward becoming proud of the part he's less comfortable with.
Spring 2016: "What We Fear" Powerful Voice Winner Nicole Reiber
by Nicole Reiber
Read Nicole's essay, "The Monster Within" about relationships and career opportunities in her life that have been lost because of her self-sabotaging behaviors, and how self-respect has helped her fight this monster.
Spring 2016: "What We Fear" Literary Gems
We received many outstanding essays for the Spring 2016 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Spring 2016: Julie M. Elman's Response to "What We Fear" Essay Winners
by Julie M. Elman
Julie M. Elman responds to the winners of our Spring 2016 Student Writing Competition.
Winter 2016 National Student Writing Competition: Every Girl's Right
Want a motivator to take your students' writing to a higher level? Here's an opportunity to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" Middle School Winner Dakota Cline
by Dakota Cline
Dakota Cline is a middle school student at Horizons K-8 in Boulder, CO. He read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article, "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Dakota's essay, "To Say 'Nah'," about the one thing he, Malala, and Rosa Parks all share: the drive to rebel.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" High School Winner Hamna Khalid
by Hamna Khalid
Hamna Khalid is a junior at Haddonfield Memorial High School in Haddonfield, NJ. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Hamna's essay, "Education: Every Girl's Haq (Right) to Make Her Voice Heard," about amplifying the voices of those who have been less fortunate than her to receive a good education.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" University Winner Kelsi Belcher
by Kelsi Belcher
Kelsi Belcher is a freshman at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Kelsi's essay, "A Mother's Motivation," about how struggles through her adolescence presented her with a most precious opportunity.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" Powerful Voice Winner Edward Ramirez
by Edward Ramirez
Edward Ramirez is a freshman at KIPP Houston High School in Houston, TX. He read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article, "Standing With Malala: Meet the Teenagers Who Survived the Taliban and Kept Going to School," an interview with Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, the two friends of Malala who were also shot on the bus by the Taliban in 2012. Read Edward's essay, "Deprived of a Brain," about experiencing racism in school and his determination to continue learning despite the hurtful taunts and injustice.
Winter 2016: "Every Girl's Right" Literary Gems
We received many outstanding essays for the Winter 2016 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Winter 2016: Malala Fund Team's Response to "Every Girl's Right" Essay Winners
The Malala Fund Team responds to the winners of the Winter 2016 "Every Girl's Right" writing competition.
Fall 2015 National Student Writing Competition: Justice for All
Want a motivator to take your students' writing to a higher level? Here's an opportunity to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" Middle School Winner Cate Landry
by Cate Landry
Cate Landry is a student at Horizons K-8 School in Boulder, Colorado. She read and responded to the onlineYES! Magazine article, "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Cate's essay, "Stay Tuned to Change the World" about how being aware of what's in the news is the first step in the path to justice.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" Middle School/High School Winner Amani Lazarus
by Amani Lazarus
Amani Lazarus is a middle school student at Palmetto Scholars Academy in North Charleston, South Carolina. She read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Amani's essay, "A Deafening Silence," about how we can't stand quietly while others scream in pain, that we must speak for those who have been silenced by social injustice.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" University Winner Elizabeth Schmidt
Elizabeth Schmidt is a student at Kent State in Ohio. She read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Elizabeth's essay, "Compassionate Communities: Where Mindfulness Starts, Injustice Ends," about the importance of regaining the depth in our feelings so that we may live with awareness and connect with the rest of the world.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" Powerful Voice Winner Naomi Blair
by Naomi Blair
Naomi Blair is a student at Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Missouri. She read and responded to the online YES! Magazine article "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Naomi's essay, "Black Girl, White Space" about the prejudice she faces in her AP class and the experiment she is doing to expose this injustice.
Fall 2015: "Justice For All" Powerful Voice Winner Karen Jordan
by Karen Jordan
Karen Jordan is a student at a therapeutic boarding school in northwestern Montana. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine online article "I Can't Breathe Until Everyone Can Breathe," by Gerald Mitchell. Read Karen's essay, "Love: Free of Fear and Judgment," about how feeling better in her own skin has helped her see the potential in our society.
Fall 2015: "Justice for All" Literary Gems
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.
Fall 2015: Gerald Mitchell's Response to "Justice for All" Essay Winners
Gerald Mitchell responds to the winners of the Fall 2015 "Justice for All" writing competition.
About the YES! National Student Writing Competition
The YES! National Student Writing Competition is a quarterly writing opportunity to respond to a thought-provoking YES! article and writing prompt. Students not only write for a real audience and boost their writing to a higher level—they also have the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.