For Maryland Middle School Students

Sarah LaRose accepts first prize from Annapolis Mayor Dean Johnson, Caroline Mitchelle accepts third prize

Description: This is an annual, statewide writing contest for middle school students in Maryland focusing on the themes of peace and social justice. The contest, now in its 24th year, is sponsored by Anne Arundel Peace Action, Maryland Peace Action Education Fund, Benjamin Peace Foundation, and the Peace and Justice Center of Annapolis Friends Meeting.

Eligibility: All 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in public or private schools in Maryland or home-schooled students at the same grade levels are eligible to enter.

Requirements: Students must write no more than 1,200 words on the following topic:

Some students have engaged in school “walkouts” to express their views on an issue on which they have a strong opinion. The “climate strikes” proposed by 16-year old Greta Thunberg during her recent presentation to the United Nations calling attention to the challenges posed by climate change and the “March for Our Lives” advocating gun control are examples of this tactic. School officials have responded in different ways. Some have allowed it, some have “scripted” the actions with specific guidelines and limitations, and some have declined to permit it. You are asked by your principal to serve on a committee at your school to develop a policy governing student actions on important issues such as climate change and gun control. What would be your suggestions and why?

The entry should be double-spaced and one-sided and accompanied by a separate cover sheet which includes all of these:

  • Student’s name, address and phone number (or e-mail address)
  • School’s name, address and phone number
  • The name of the teacher sponsor, if applicable

Personal identifying information must not appear anywhere on the entry. Cover sheets should be attached to the entries by paperclip. No staples anywhere, please.

Deadline: Send entries and cover sheets to Peace Writing Contest, 310 Riverview Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403-3328.

Awards: Winners will be selected by a panel of three distinguished judges. Winners will receive prizes of:

  • First place: $350
  • Second place: $250
  • Third place: $150
  • Fourth place: $100

Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony. Attendance is not required to receive an award.