Second COVID-themed creative writing contest offers cash prizes for Shelby County Schools teens

Memphis-based nonprofit Peer Power Foundation is hosting a second COVID-19 creative writing contest for Mid-South teens with three cash prizes up for grabs.

The contest is open to any Shelby County Schools student in the ninth through twelfth grades. Students must submit their original work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry by July 24. Submissions must be less than 1,000 words.

Learn more about the contest here, register here, or email questions to Sydney Wright at [email protected]

In early May, High Ground reported on the first Peer Power creative writing contest. Students were asked to submit short stories that spoke to issues surrounding the novel coronavirus, technology, the power of choice, and goal-setting.

“The writings were absolutely impressive and the students had a lot to say,” said Cortney Richardson, Peer Power’s chief marketing and community engagement officer. “We have a history of finding what works and doing more of it.”

The July contest is intended to include students in conversations around what the 2020-21 academic school year will look like.

“All of the decisions that are being made will directly impact them. We are here to serve them so we want to know their thoughts,” he said.

Students can respond to one of two prompts: ‘How are you feeling about going back to school this fall?’ or ‘Describe a day in school during the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Works will be judged on three categories: clarity and effectiveness of themes; originality and creativity; and grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Students won’t have to craft their stories alone. Each student who submits a story will receive free virtual support from Peer Power’s success coaches.

Winners will be decided by a panel of judges that include an author, playwright, University of Memphis professor, and Shelby County Schools' chief of communications.

Peer Power is a Memphis-based nonprofit that works with public schools to recruit, train, and employ college students as coaches and mentors in classrooms.

“We exist to positively impact the lives of students,” said Richardson. “Our parameters from this pandemic are providing us with new opportunities to support students, and we look forward to supporting within the new norm.”

Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017. 
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