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 especially powerful and passionate). Winning essays in each category are published on the YES! Magazine website and in our online education newsletter, reaching thousands of YES! readers, including over 11,000 teachers. One winning essay per contest is chosen by YES! editors to be published in our quarterly print magazine.
Click here for general information about the writing competition.
Read recent featured essays here.
Feeding Ourselves, Feeding Our Revolutions
This fall, students will read and respond to the YES! Magazine article, “Cooking Stirs the Pot for Social Change,” by Korsha Wilson.
In this article, Wilson explores the power of food to spark change in our communities. The author believes that cooking and consumption are not just necessary for survival; they are also political acts of resistance against oppression, means to preserve heritage, and ways for change-makers to practice self-care.
The Writing Prompt
Multiple activists in this article discuss cooking and consuming food as an act of both resistance and self-care. Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman will not make fry bread because it’s an edible reminder of the injustices of colonialism. For Shakirah Simley, eating together not only gives her and her fellow activists the nourishment to resist, but also allows them to talk about difficult issues and grow their activism.
Students, please respond to the writing prompt below with an up-to-700-word essay:
If you were to host a potluck or dinner to discuss a challenge facing your community or country, what food would you cook? Who would you invite? On what issue would you deliberate?
Who is eligible?
You must be a classroom teacher—homeschool cooperatives, resource centers, supervised writing groups, and schools outside the U.S. included—for your students to participate. We cannot accept essays or registrations independently sent by students. Student writers should be in grades 6-8 (middle school), grades 9-12 (high school), college/university, or adult continuing education.
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.
What are the essay requirements?
- Respond to the article and writing prompt provided by YES!
- Provide an original essay title
- Reference the article in the essay
- No more than 700 words
- Must be original, unpublished words
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 essays?
- You must be registered for the competition by September 28, 2018.
- You may submit up to three essays per class. Example: If you are submitting essays for two classes, you may send up to a total of six essays—but they must be up to three essays per class, not four essays for one class and two from the other.
- Include a scanned, completed student release form with each submitted essay. Please make sure student email addresses are legible and visible. NOTE: Please submit all student essays by November 2, even if there are missing release forms. You may send completed students releases as soon as you receive them.
Winners will be announced on December 20.
Details announced: Nov. 14
Registration due: Dec. 7
Essays due: Jan. 25
Winners announced: March 14
Details announced: Feb. 7
Registration due: Feb. 27
Essays due: April 9
Winners announced: May 23
Questions? Please email [email protected]
Thank you for joining us!