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National Essay Contests 2010 Middle School

















































Contests for Students

Semester at Sea’s Vince Schaff, 2016 Winner Dylan Borne, USIP President Nancy Lindborg and AFSA President Barbara Stephenson

Starting in 1987, USIP challenged students to think critically about global issues of conflict and peace through the National Peace Essay Contest (NPEC). USIP then expanded its work with young people in more recent years with the creation of the Global Peacebuilding Center in 2011. Now, USIP is building upon the legacy of the NPEC (which was wrapped up in 2014) and expanding the ongoing work of the Global Peacebuilding Center by partnering with other organizations on some new initiatives for students:

Academic WorldQuest

Each year, the World Affairs Council of America (WACA) engages more than 4,000 high school students across the U.S. in quiz contests that test their knowledge of global issues and foreign policy in 10 categories. USIP is pleased to collaborate this year with WACA to add a peace and conflict strand to Academic WorldQuest 2017. Check out the resources for the “Peace and Conflict in Today’s World” category!

National High School Essay Contest

USIP is proud to partner with the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) on the annual National High School Essay Contest for 2016-2017. The contest engages high school students each year in learning and writing about issues of peace and conflict, encouraging appreciation for diplomacy’s role in building partnerships that can advance peacebuilding and protect national security. The 2016-2017 contest challenges students to closely examine the causes and impact of the refugee crisis. The winner of the contest will receive a $2,500 cash prize, an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet the secretary of state and USIP leadership, and a full-tuition paid voyage with Semester at Sea upon the student’s enrollment at an accredited university. The runner-up will receive a $1,250 cash prize and a full scholarship to participate in the International Diplomacy Program of the National Student Leadership Conference. The deadline for the contest is March 15, 2017. Learn more about the question and contest rules .

National History Day

The U.S. Institute of Peace is proud to sponsor a Special Prize at the national level as part of National History Day. The Global Peace Prize is awarded annually to the top middle and high school entries that demonstrate America’s commitment to peace, including the role that individuals, organizations and/or the U.S. government have played in advancing the cause of global peace, this year using the theme “Taking a Stand in History.” Students can present their research in many different ways – through essays, exhibits, documentaries, performances, and websites. Learn more about NHD, the Global Peace Prize and the 2017 theme!

National Peace Essay Contest

For 27 years, the National Peace Essay Contest promoted serious discussion among high school students, teachers, and national leaders about international peace and conflict resolution today and in the future.

Archived information on the contests is available:

Past NPEC national and state winners should submit scholarship requests to essaycontest@usip.org .

Essay Contest for Students in grades 6-12 who have been nominated by an educator

Topic: Your life without modern technology

What do you think your life would be like without cell phones, computers, and video games? Would your life change completely? Would you be happier or healthier? Would life be boring or more exciting? How would you spend your time? How would you communicate? How would you gather information? Send us an essay of 500 words about your life without modern technology. Give your essay a title. Essays must be received by April 26, 2016.

All essays submitted must be typed and double-spaced. Essays must have a title. Only one entry per student. Your name, home address, email address, nominating teacher, school name, city and state, and your grade level must appear on the first page of the text. You can email your essay to d.dinsmore@usaa-academy.com or mail it to USAA, 2610 Palumbo Drive, Lexington, KY 40509.

Essays from different grade levels are not compared to each other. For example, a 6th grade student’s essay is not compared to a 12th grader’s essay. Instead, it is judged individually based on the writing capabilities and expectations of a 6th or 12th grader.

USAA will choose the top three essays and award the following: First Place $500, Second Place $300, and Third Place $150. Winners will also receive one complimentary book. We will publish all three essays in the 2016 USAA National Yearbook. You will become a published author in a nationally distributed book. Publication is an honor that stays with you for a lifetime.

All entries become the property of the United States Achievement Academy and will not be returned. Participation in this contest allows USAA to use short stories in the Academy’s publications. Good luck to everyone!

The United States Achievement Academy is pleased to announce the winners of our 2014-2015 Short Story Contest.

  • 1st Place – Kyla Frenia, Wissahickon Middle School, Ambler, PA, Nominating Teacher – Mr. Towarnicki
  • 2nd Place – Olivia Lawler, Olathe Northwest High School, Olathe, KS, Nominating Teacher– Ms. Magaha
  • 3rd Place – Lauren Skinner, Farquhar Middle School, Olney, MD, Nominating Teacher – Ms. Chaney

    Congratulations to the winners! Thanks to all who participated.

    Writing Contest Winners "Open Topic" 2013-2014

    We are excited to announce the winners of our writing contest, “Open Topic”, for the 2013-2014 school year. Our contests have become very popular with our teachers and students, and the response has been gratifying for all. We have received over 2000 short stories! It certainly has made the selection process very difficult. All of you are to be commended for your writing. Following are three teachers and three students that were chosen to receive the contest prizes:
    Teacher – 1st Place – Connie Laws, Marymount School of New York, New York, New York
    Teacher – 2nd Place – Patrick Meehan, Louise R Johnson MS of International Studies, Bradenton, FL
    Teacher – 3rd Place – James G. Fabiano, Newmarket Jr/Sr High School, Newmarket, NH
    Student – 1st Place – Maria Guseva, McDowell Intermediate HS, Millcreek, PA, Grade 9, nominating teacher – Mr. Kocher
    Student – 2nd Place – Isabella McLeod, Gardiner Middle School, Oregon City, OR, 7th grade, nominating teacher – Keyla Santiago
    Student – 3rd place – Marissa Spatz, Auburndale Middle/High School, Auburndale, WI, 7th grade, nominating teacher – Sheila Cherney
    Congratulations to all for a job well-done. As a reminder to students, be sure to return your Student Biography form to the Academy as soon as possible. You will receive a Scholarship Application to complete and return to the Academy for consideration of an educational cash grant

    2013 Spring Short Story Contest Winners

    The United States Achievement Academy is pleased to announce the winners of our short story contest, “The Best Field Trip Ever”.

    • 1st place – Walter Browne, Eastern Regional High School, Voorhees, NJ
    • 2nd place – Bobbie Jo Tate, Sheep Harney Elementary School, Elizabeth City, NC
    • 3rd place – Dan Duhon, Selwyn College Preparatory School, Denton, TX
    • 1st place – Madison Jackson, Solon High School, Solon, OH
    • 2nd place – Natalie DeLeon, Erick High School, Erick, OK
    • 3rd place – Nicholas Tsoutsos, Fort Caroline Middle School, Jacksonville, FL

    Congratulations to the winners! Thanks to all who participated.


    Student Essay Contest Prompt

    On July 2, 2016, activist, professor and Nobel Peace Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel passed away at the age of 87. Born into a Jewish family in a village in northwestern Romania, Wiesel found himself a target of the Nazi Final Solution while still only a teenager. Confined first to ghettos, Wiesel along with his whole family were then deported to the death camps at Auschwitz in 1944. The horrors that he witnessed and suffered at the hands of the Nazis in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, including the deaths of his sister, mother and father, Wiesel documented in his seminal autobiographical work, Night. Since its first publication, Night has been translated into over 30 languages and is regularly read by millions of students each year.

    For his human rights activism and campaigns against worldwide genocide and violence, Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

    To commemorate the life, courage and achievements of Elie Wiesel, The National WWII Museum is asking middle and high school students to respond to a quote by Wiesel about his life and legacy.

    For your essay, middle and high school students will each respond to a different quote by Elie Wiesel from your point of view as a young person coming of age in the twenty-first century. Do you agree or do you disagree with his view? Use the events of World War II and The Holocaust as your starting point, basing your essay in part on America’s involvement in the War. But don’t stop in the past. Use specific examples from your own experiences and/or current events to support your ideas. This is NOT a research paper, and the best essays will NOT be summaries of the past 70 years of American history or foreign policy. Your essay will be judged foremost for its originality, clarity of expression, and adherence to contest theme, as well as its historical accuracy, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Museum staff will read and evaluate entries.



    Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
    High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.

    See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
    Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.

    The Victory Gardens of WWII
    Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!

    The Science and Technology of WWII
    Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.

    Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
    Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.


    The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.

    945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70130, Entrance on Andrew Higgins Drive
    PHONE: (504) 528-1944 – FAX: (504) 527-6088 – EMAIL: info@nationalww2museum.org | Directions