NJCTE High School Writing Contest 2019

Submission deadline: 11:59 p.m., December 16, 2018. See http://www.njcte.org/writing-contest for details.

 The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English invites New Jersey students in grades 9-12 to participate in its 2019 Writing Contest:

“Truth and Illusion”

2019 Categories

  • Poetry (one poem, 50-line max.) –FREE CHOICE
  • Short story (5-page max. double-spaced) – FREE CHOICE
  • Personal essay* (5-page max., double-spaced) – RESPOND TO PROMPT

*All personal essay submissions must respond to this year’s prompt.

Personal Essay Writing Prompt:

Write a personal essay or narrative about the effect illusion has had on your life.

Illusions are false beliefs. In life, as in literature, these false beliefs might be about ways to be happy or successful or about what another person is truly like. Write a personal essay about the discovery of a truth hidden behind an illusion. This may be about your own illusion or an illusion that someone had about you. What led to the discovery of truth? How has this affected your life? Try to steer away from general observations. Describe a concrete experience and reflect on how the truth hurt or helped you.

How to enter:

  1. Visit our website at http://www.njcte.org/writing-contest and follow the instructions provided. Only New Jersey high school students are eligible to enter.

Tips to Avoid Disqualification:

  1. Each student may submit a maximum of one entry in each category (i.e. only one poem, one short story and one essay).
  2. Teachers may submit up to ten entries for their students in each genre. Surplus entries will be disqualified in order of submission date.
  3. The file submitted must be anonymous. Essays, short stories and poems with a student’s name, school or class typed on them will be disqualified.


  • Genre Winners (poetry, short story, personal essay): Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals.
    • Gold medalists are eligible for the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education (GAAE).
  • School/District Winners:
    • Honorable Mention: Top scoring students
      • From schools with qualifying entries from at least 10 different students sponsored by at least three different teachers
    • Certificates of Merit – Top scoring students
      • From schools which submit qualifying entries from at least three different students

Winners will be notified on or after March 10, 2019. Questions: njctewritingcontest@outlook.com.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English

NJCTE High School Writing Contest 2019

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