General Rules

All writing must be the student’s own work. No assistance from others is allowed. Any work found to be copied from other sources in any form will result in immediate disqualification.

If there are significant discrepancies between the on-site work in the second round and the work submitted in the first round, disqualification will occur only with the unanimous consent of the writing committee.

Any written submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.

All writing must be suitable for a school environment.

Finalists must agree to their work being made public.

Eligibility for participating students (rising 5th to rising 7th-grade students) must not contain false information.

Round 1 Students must write a short story based on a given prompt. They must also submit a brief self-introduction (50 to 100 words). Word Limit: 500-1000 words Registration accepts 40 students, with the top 10 finalists advancing to Round 2. Round 1 is worth 200 points. Deadline: 8/6

Round 2 Qualifying participants must write a persuasive essay based on a given theme and provided resources. This round will take place on Zoom and will be proctored live. All students will have 75 minutes to read the materials and write the essay. Word Limit: 500-1000 words Round 2 is worth 100 points. Deadline: 8/20

Round 1 Standards: Formal tone is not required. Some informal language may be used in dialogue or first-person narrative. However, standard grammar rules and conventions should still be followed. The story must have a background, characters, and a plot.

Round 2 Standards: Essays must have a formal tone and adhere to standard grammar rules and conventions. Essays must have a clear thesis or main idea and relevant supporting details. Essays must have some form of introduction and conclusion (sentence or paragraph length). Essays must be in the form of paragraphs or multiple paragraphs.

Factors considered in the first round:
Creativity/Originality (25%)
Grammar/Spelling/Usage (15%)
Organization and structure (15%)
Voice/Style (15%)
Focus, details and elaboration(10%)
Adherence to given topic and other requirements (10%)
Promptness (5%)
Formatting (5%)
Factors considered in the second round:
Organization and structure (20%)
Focus, details and elaboration (20%)
Voice/Style (20%)
Creativity/Originality (15%)
Grammar/Spelling/Usage (15%)
Adherence to given topic and other requirements (10%)


All participating students (up to 40) will receive feedback on their work.

Qualifying finalists for the second round (up to 10) will have a 30-minute one-on-one feedback session via Zoom. Each finalist can choose whether they wish to receive feedback from their own classroom teacher or from another teacher designated by the team.

Each essay will be evaluated by multiple teachers, and teachers are not allowed to grade the work of their own students.

After calculating the final scores based on the results of both rounds, the first, second, and third-place individuals as well as the top team will be announced.