Scholastic News Student Essay Contest: What Will You Run For?

Inspiring Action Against Local Issues


Scholastic News is currently holding a nationwide essay competition based around creating change in  participants’ local communities.

The contest entails that participants must address a local issue in their community and explain how they would take action. They must choose from positions in their local government: mayor, city council, or state legislature. After choosing one of these positions, participants will use these positions to provide ways that they can take action against this issue.

Some questions that participants are expected to answer are: what local cause or issue has inspired you to take action? Why is this issue important to you? Using your governmental position, how might you rally support to achieve this goal?

7-12 grade students are eligible for this student essay contest, and as said on the website, this contest’s goal is to “[i]nspire students to take civics into the real world by researching and writing a 2- to 3-page persuasive essay about how they can address a community issue by running for office.”

The essay is graded according to its “Content/Components”, “Persuasiveness”, “Organization/Presentation”, and “Creativity”. There will be three student winners from grades 7–8 and three from grades 9–12 that will each receive a $1,000 grant and a new laptop to empower them as they enact community change. If students were to win this contest, the teachers will also receive a $500 gift that will be used for their classroom.

I personally found out about this essay contest from Mr. Terry, a U.S. and World History teacher, who also runs the United Nations club at our school. He has helped with explaining how our local government generally works, how some issues might correlate with specific positions, and how the format of the essay will be. He mentions that “if you lay something out on paper first, you’ll have a better idea of how to tackle a problem if you’re ready for it”. While the action is theoretical, it will hopefully lead to real change.

The website itself also provides many resources to help students while writing their essays. It inspires students to take action and learn about their own local/state governments. The deadline for this contest is March 29, 2020, and students of Wayne Hills are encouraged to participate. Begin to think about some local issues that you wish you could change; this could be anything from concerns regarding Wayne Hills to problems in New Jersey as a whole.

Students may use this link to learn more about the contest: