New Writing Contest for Students Grades 6-12

Students explore “family” in this new writing contest

Attention U.S. and international teachers!

It’s super exciting to find a new student writing contest to tell you about, so last week, when I received word about a brand new one, I quickly penciled it into my blogging schedule.

I can’t tell you how big a fan I am of writing contests! In fact, there are all kinds of benefits to assigning an essay contest to your students. More like mini-PBL projects, writing contests encourage students to take advantage of the autonomy and creativity offered within the judges’ criteria. Read here for my gradually growing list of student writing contests.

Students prepares for writing contest.
More like mini-PBL projects, writing contests encourage students to take advantage of the autonomy and creativity offered within the judges’ criteria..

However, this school year has been a real bummer in that a couple of my go-to regional writing contests were cancelled due to Covid-19 complications.

That’s a shame, in my view, but it’s all the more reason to inform you about a new contest when one comes along. And here it is:

The Principia Perspectives Writing Contest

This new student writing contest is sponsored by McLean, Virginia-based Principia Tutors and Consultants, which offers test prep, academic classes and tutoring, and college consulting.

Principia Perspectives hosts this webpage about their middle and high school students.
This movie can help students test and practice their nonfiction muscles.

According to the contest page on the company’s website, “At Principia, we’ve long heralded the importance of reflection through writing. After helping numerous students enter (and win!) many other writing contests, we’ve decided to start our first annual Principia Perspectives Writing Contest.”

During a year when so many events have been cancelled, it was nice to hear about one beginning from the Principia team! Consider adding this contest to your plans in the coming weeks.

Students write about "family" in this new high school writing contest.
Your students must somehow address “family” in their writing. | Photo by August de Richelieu on

But first, the basics about this contest:

  • Who’s eligible: Grades 6-8 in the middle school contest; 9-12 for high school
  • Open to U.S. and international students (Entries must be in English.)
  • Fee: None
  • Deadline: April 30
  • Word count: 400-600 for middle school; 500-800 for high school
  • Genre: Creative nonfiction
    • Use this contest to explore this fast-growing genre. According to the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, “In some ways, creative nonfiction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, and techniques, some of which are newly invented and others as old as writing itself.
    • As defined on CNF’s About page, “Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these.
  • Theme or Prompt: Family

The prompt for this new contest centers on “family.”

“For the 2021 competition, reflect on the theme of family. What have you learned about the role of family? What stories define family for you? Creatively explore this topic using 400-600 words for middle school students and 500-800 words for high school students. A winner, runner-up, and honorable mentions will be selected for each category.”

Principia Perspectives Writing Contest

Notification and awards

Prizes: For both age divisions, winners will receive online publication plus a monetary award: $200 for first place and $50 for second place. In addition, honorable mention winners will receive ten “family-related works of fiction and non-fiction.” Click here for rules and guidelines.

Award Notification: June 1

For more information:

Consult the Principia Perspectives contest website and then… encourage all your students to participate. Contests can be a great way to instill writing confidence in all your students.

Thanks for reading again this week! Please leave a message in the comments below or reach me via my Contact page for more details or if you have a question. Or visit the Principia Perspectives contest page.

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Treasured Object Poems

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Published by Marilyn Yung

Writes | Teaches | Not sure where one ends and the other begins.

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