YES! National Student Writing Competition

An opportunity for students to write for an audience beyond the classroom, and personally reflect on topics that impact them and their world.

 

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.

Fall 2013: Simon Okelo's Response to "Simple Living" Essay Winners
by Simon Okelo
Simon Okelo, author of "Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff," responds to essay winners of the Fall 2013 "Simple Living" writing competition.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Middle School Winner Sharon Lin
by Sharon Lin
Sharon Lin is a student of Michael Ferraro at William R. Satz School in Holmdel, New Jersey. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Sharon's essay about how April Dávila inspired Sharon to adopt an organic vegan diet, and the increased energy and self-confidence she felt as a result.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" High School Winner Erica Young
by Erica Young
Erica Young is a student of Jorge Muñoz at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Erica's creative essay about how foods, like superheroes, should proudly display their logos to disclose their identities.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" College Winner Ryan Barry
by Ryan Berry
Ryan Barry is a student of Professor Tom Hudspeth at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Ryan's essay about his concerns surrounding the health effects of GMOs, and his recommendation to follow the European Union's lead and adopt the precautionary principle.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Literary Gem Author Omar Charles
by Omar Charles
Omar Charles is a student of Allison Stuart at General George A. McCall Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Omar's essay about his realization that when it comes to fighting products that may harm people and the environment, he has to become his own hero.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Powerful Voice Winner Russell Chiang
by Russell Chiang
Russell Chiang is a student of Angela Halpin at Carmel Valley Middle School in San Diego, California. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Russell's essay about how GMOs may harm one's body, and how monopolizing companies can harm the economy.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Literary Gem Author Constantin Metzger
by Constantin Metzger
Constantin Metzger is a student of Veronika Fröhlich at Pädagogische Hochschule University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Constantin's essay about feeling dependent on large corporations, and his efforts to ensure that his decisions remain his own.
Spring 2013: April Dávila's Response to "Genetically Modified Food" Essay Winners
by April Dávila
April Dávila, a professional writer living and working in Los Angeles, and author of "A Month Without Monsanto," responds to essay winners of the Spring 2013 "Genetically Modified Food" writing competition.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" Middle School Winner Sumaiyah Mustaphalli
by Sumaiyah Mustaphalli
Sumaiyah Mustaphalli is a sixth-grade student of Blakeney Miller at Orlando Science Middle School in Orlando, Florida. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other?" by Akaya Windwood. Read Sumaiyah's essay about how the smile of the young grocery bagger gave her hope for her soon-to-be-born sibling.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" High School Winner Nizhone Hickman
by Nizhone Hickman
Nizhone Hickman is a student of Lisa Watson at Sonoran Science Academy in Tucson, Arizona. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," by Akaya Windwood. Read Nizhone's essay about his challenge of opening up to strangers and his commitment to keep trying.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" College Winner Adam Dales
by Adam Dales
Adam Dales is a United States Army Veteran and student at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He read and responded to YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," by Akaya Windwood. Read Adam's essay about how he was humbled by the kindness of someone he would normally ignore in a depressing area of town.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" Powerful Voice Winner Reyna Flores
by Reyna Flores
Reyna Flores is a student of Stephanie Agnew at West Valley City School in Spokane, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," by Akaya Windwood. Read Reyna's poem about a misunderstood young girl and a lonely old woman who find each other.
Winter 2013: Akaya Windwood Response to "Seeing the Unseen" Essay Winners
by Akaya Windwood
Akaya Windwood, president of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and author of "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," responds to essay winners of the Winter 2013 writing competition
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" Middle School Winner Rowan Treece
by Rowan Treece
Rowan Treece is a student at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Living Large in a Tiny House" by Carol Estes. Read Rowan's essay about the sustainable dance community home she would build so she could live with her ballet sisters every day and save the planet.
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" High School Winner Ritika Mazumder
by Ritika Mazumder
Ritika Mazumder is a student at Houston High School in Germantown, Tennessee. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Living Large in a Tiny House," by Carol Estes. Read Ritika's essay about her desire to have a smaller home as long as she can spend time with the people she lives with.

Also in this section

Fall 2013: Simon Okelo's Response to "Simple Living" Essay Winners
by Simon Okelo
Simon Okelo, author of "Growing Up in a Kenyan Slum Taught Me the Real Value of Stuff," responds to essay winners of the Fall 2013 "Simple Living" writing competition.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Middle School Winner Sharon Lin
by Sharon Lin
Sharon Lin is a student of Michael Ferraro at William R. Satz School in Holmdel, New Jersey. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Sharon's essay about how April Dávila inspired Sharon to adopt an organic vegan diet, and the increased energy and self-confidence she felt as a result.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" High School Winner Erica Young
by Erica Young
Erica Young is a student of Jorge Muñoz at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Erica's creative essay about how foods, like superheroes, should proudly display their logos to disclose their identities.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" College Winner Ryan Barry
by Ryan Berry
Ryan Barry is a student of Professor Tom Hudspeth at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Ryan's essay about his concerns surrounding the health effects of GMOs, and his recommendation to follow the European Union's lead and adopt the precautionary principle.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Literary Gem Author Omar Charles
by Omar Charles
Omar Charles is a student of Allison Stuart at General George A. McCall Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Omar's essay about his realization that when it comes to fighting products that may harm people and the environment, he has to become his own hero.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Powerful Voice Winner Russell Chiang
by Russell Chiang
Russell Chiang is a student of Angela Halpin at Carmel Valley Middle School in San Diego, California. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Russell's essay about how GMOs may harm one's body, and how monopolizing companies can harm the economy.
Spring 2013: "Genetically Modified Food" Literary Gem Author Constantin Metzger
by Constantin Metzger
Constantin Metzger is a student of Veronika Fröhlich at Pädagogische Hochschule University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "A Month Without Monsanto," by April Dávila. Read Constantin's essay about feeling dependent on large corporations, and his efforts to ensure that his decisions remain his own.
Spring 2013: April Dávila's Response to "Genetically Modified Food" Essay Winners
by April Dávila
April Dávila, a professional writer living and working in Los Angeles, and author of "A Month Without Monsanto," responds to essay winners of the Spring 2013 "Genetically Modified Food" writing competition.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" Middle School Winner Sumaiyah Mustaphalli
by Sumaiyah Mustaphalli
Sumaiyah Mustaphalli is a sixth-grade student of Blakeney Miller at Orlando Science Middle School in Orlando, Florida. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other?" by Akaya Windwood. Read Sumaiyah's essay about how the smile of the young grocery bagger gave her hope for her soon-to-be-born sibling.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" High School Winner Nizhone Hickman
by Nizhone Hickman
Nizhone Hickman is a student of Lisa Watson at Sonoran Science Academy in Tucson, Arizona. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," by Akaya Windwood. Read Nizhone's essay about his challenge of opening up to strangers and his commitment to keep trying.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" College Winner Adam Dales
by Adam Dales
Adam Dales is a United States Army Veteran and student at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He read and responded to YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," by Akaya Windwood. Read Adam's essay about how he was humbled by the kindness of someone he would normally ignore in a depressing area of town.
Winter 2013: "Seeing the Unseen" Powerful Voice Winner Reyna Flores
by Reyna Flores
Reyna Flores is a student of Stephanie Agnew at West Valley City School in Spokane, Washington. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," by Akaya Windwood. Read Reyna's poem about a misunderstood young girl and a lonely old woman who find each other.
Winter 2013: Akaya Windwood Response to "Seeing the Unseen" Essay Winners
by Akaya Windwood
Akaya Windwood, president of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and author of "What Can Change When We Learn to See Each Other," responds to essay winners of the Winter 2013 writing competition
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" Middle School Winner Rowan Treece
by Rowan Treece
Rowan Treece is a student at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Living Large in a Tiny House" by Carol Estes. Read Rowan's essay about the sustainable dance community home she would build so she could live with her ballet sisters every day and save the planet.
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" High School Winner Ritika Mazumder
by Ritika Mazumder
Ritika Mazumder is a student at Houston High School in Germantown, Tennessee. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Living Large in a Tiny House," by Carol Estes. Read Ritika's essay about her desire to have a smaller home as long as she can spend time with the people she lives with.
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" College Winner Chris Harrell
by Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a student at Appalachian State University. He read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Living Large in a Tiny House" by Carol Estes. Read Chris's essay about how growing up in Kenya influenced his conscious choice to live intentionally here in the States.
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" Powerful Voice Winner Paw Soe
by Paw Soe
Paw Soe is a student at New Tech Academy at Wayne High School. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "Living Large in a Tiny House," by Carol Estes. Read Paw's essay about how her Burmese roots taught her that no matter the size of your home, an abundant garden is essential.
Fall 2012: "Your Dream House" Literary Gems
by Jing Fong
Though not every participant can win the Fall 2012 writing contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
Fall 2012: Dee Williams Response to "Your Dream House" Essay Winners
by Dee Williams
Dee Williams, who downsized from a three-bedroom to an 84-square-foot house, responds to essay winners of the Fall 2012 writing competition.
Spring 2012: "Eating Together" Middle School Winner Kate LeBlanc
by Kate LeBlanc
Kate LeBlanc is a seventh grade student at Metro Montessori Middle School in Portland, Oregon. She read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "You Are Who You Eat With" by Katherine Gustafson. Read Kate's essay about lessons learned at the table.