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.

"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.
Spring 2015 National Student Writing Competition: Learning that Matters
by Jing Fong
Want a motivator to take your students’ writing to a higher level? Here’s an opportunity for them to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
Winter 2015 National Student Writing Competition Winners
by Jing Fong
Want a motivator to take your students’ writing to a higher level? Here’s an opportunity for them to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
"Digital Empathy" Middle School Winner Bowie Shreiber
by Bowie Shreiber
Bowie Shreiber is a student at Readington Middle School in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "How the Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Bowie's essay that tells how he was able to brave the excruciating world suck stress of baseball tryouts and find awesome.
"Digital Empathy" High School Winner Ally S.
by Ally S.
Ally S. is a student at a high school in northern Virginia. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "How the Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Ally's essay that tells how she found the strength to cope with mental illness through the support of the same Nerdfighter online community.
"Digital Empathy" College Winner Shannon Hickey
by Shannon Hickey
Shannon Hickey, a student at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "How the Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Shannon's essay about the solace and awesome she found on the Internet as a queer trans Catholic kid, and her desire to spread that acceptance to younger people experiencing suckiness.
"Digital Empathy" Powerful Voice Winner Tori Gardner
by Tori Gardner
Tori Gardner is a student at Shawnee Mission Horizons High School in Mission, Kansas. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "The Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Tori's essay that reveals the unexamined misogyny of the Internet, and what we can do to fight against it.
Christopher Zumski Finke's Response to "Digital Empathy" Essay Winners
by Christopher Zumski Finke
Christopher Zumski Finke responds to the winners of the Fall 2014 "Fault in Our Stars" essay competition.
"Digital Empathy" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Fall 2014 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"Restorative Justice" Powerful Voice Winner Sohee Lee
by Sohee Lee
Sohee Lee is a student at A.K. Academics. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Sohee's essay that brings topics like ethnicity and self-confidence into the conversation of discipline and dignity.
"Restorative Justice" Powerful Voice Winner Kayla Rice
by Kayla Rice
Kayla Rice is a student at the Peace and Justice Academy in Pasadena, California. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Kayla's essay that provides an example of a situation that failed to properly use restorative justice and why that was harmful.
"Restorative Justice" College Winner Matt Flagg
by Matt Flagg
Matt Flagg is a student at Cascadia Community College at Bothell, Washington. He responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Matt's essay about the injustices a childhood friend endured and why he felt students didn't stand up for him.
"Restorative Justice" High School Winner Simone Phillips
by Simone Phillips
Simone Phillps is an incoming freshman at Fordham University in New York City, NY. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Simone's essay that illustrates the unnecessary hardships caused by the injustice of the punitive system.
"Restorative Justice" Middle School Winner Reagan Elliff
by Reagan Elliff
Reagan Elliff is a student at the Wildflower Open Classroom in Chico, California. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Reagan's essay about how her karate skills helped her classmate get the support he needed.

Also in this section

"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.
Spring 2015 National Student Writing Competition: Learning that Matters
by Jing Fong
Want a motivator to take your students’ writing to a higher level? Here’s an opportunity for them to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
Winter 2015 National Student Writing Competition Winners
by Jing Fong
Want a motivator to take your students’ writing to a higher level? Here’s an opportunity for them to write for a real audience, and the chance to get published by an award-winning magazine.
"Digital Empathy" Middle School Winner Bowie Shreiber
by Bowie Shreiber
Bowie Shreiber is a student at Readington Middle School in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "How the Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Bowie's essay that tells how he was able to brave the excruciating world suck stress of baseball tryouts and find awesome.
"Digital Empathy" High School Winner Ally S.
by Ally S.
Ally S. is a student at a high school in northern Virginia. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "How the Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Ally's essay that tells how she found the strength to cope with mental illness through the support of the same Nerdfighter online community.
"Digital Empathy" College Winner Shannon Hickey
by Shannon Hickey
Shannon Hickey, a student at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "How the Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Shannon's essay about the solace and awesome she found on the Internet as a queer trans Catholic kid, and her desire to spread that acceptance to younger people experiencing suckiness.
"Digital Empathy" Powerful Voice Winner Tori Gardner
by Tori Gardner
Tori Gardner is a student at Shawnee Mission Horizons High School in Mission, Kansas. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "The Real Teens Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars' Are Bringing Empathy to the Internet," by Christopher Zumski Finke. Read Tori's essay that reveals the unexamined misogyny of the Internet, and what we can do to fight against it.
Christopher Zumski Finke's Response to "Digital Empathy" Essay Winners
by Christopher Zumski Finke
Christopher Zumski Finke responds to the winners of the Fall 2014 "Fault in Our Stars" essay competition.
"Digital Empathy" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Fall 2014 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"Restorative Justice" Powerful Voice Winner Sohee Lee
by Sohee Lee
Sohee Lee is a student at A.K. Academics. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Sohee's essay that brings topics like ethnicity and self-confidence into the conversation of discipline and dignity.
"Restorative Justice" Powerful Voice Winner Kayla Rice
by Kayla Rice
Kayla Rice is a student at the Peace and Justice Academy in Pasadena, California. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Kayla's essay that provides an example of a situation that failed to properly use restorative justice and why that was harmful.
"Restorative Justice" College Winner Matt Flagg
by Matt Flagg
Matt Flagg is a student at Cascadia Community College at Bothell, Washington. He responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Matt's essay about the injustices a childhood friend endured and why he felt students didn't stand up for him.
"Restorative Justice" High School Winner Simone Phillips
by Simone Phillips
Simone Phillps is an incoming freshman at Fordham University in New York City, NY. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Simone's essay that illustrates the unnecessary hardships caused by the injustice of the punitive system.
"Restorative Justice" Middle School Winner Reagan Elliff
by Reagan Elliff
Reagan Elliff is a student at the Wildflower Open Classroom in Chico, California. She responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Where Dignity is Part of the School Day," by Fania Davis. Read Reagan's essay about how her karate skills helped her classmate get the support he needed.
Fania Davis' Response to "Restorative Justice" Essay Winners
by Fania Davis
Fania Davis, co-founder and executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, responds to the winners of the Spring 2014 "Restorative Justice" essay competition.
"Restorative Justice" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Spring 2014 Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Dr. Edward Tick's Response to "Support for Veterans" Essay Winners
Dr. Edward Tick, co-founder of Soldier's Heart and author of "Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country," responds to winners of the Winter 2014 "Support for Veterans" essay competition.
"Support for Veterans" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
We received many powerful essays for the Winter 2014 "Support for Veterans" Writing Competition. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"Support for Veterans "Powerful Voice Winner Jay Hagstrom
by Jay Hagstrom
Jay Hagstrom is a student at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. He responded to the YES! Magazine article, “Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country,” by Dr. Edward Tick. Read Jay’s letter to a fellow veteran about the difficulties of not feeling like a true veteran.