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12th Annual High School Seniors
           English Essay Contest

The purpose of the high school seniors English essay contest is to promote effective writing by, about, and/or for queer youth. The theme of the 2016–17 competition is pink ink ("We write not only about different things; we also write differently"—Brecht).

The following approaches are suggestions only.

  1. We're Here and We're Queer: Interviews with Queer Teenagers and Their Friends
  2. Living Healthy Lives as Queer Teenagers
  3. Queer Youth around the World
  4. Getting Smart: Education Issues of Queer Teenagers

Contest Rules


The contest is open only to students aged 18 and under who have not yet graduated from high school. You must affirm that you are not a high school graduate (as of the date you submit your essay).

In addition you must affirm that the essay you submit has not been submitted elsewhere—e.g., for a class assignment or another contest; as part of a college or job application; or for a scholarship, prize, or grant.

All entries become the property of Queer Foundation. Winners must agree to the use by Queer Foundation of their names, images, and biographical information in promotional efforts related to the Queer Foundation Effective Writing and Scholarships Program.

Evaluation Criteria

Your essay should be 3–5 pages long, 10 pages max. Be creative. Links to essays from previous years' contests are online at

Judges will award points based on

HINT: Use spellcheck, and remember that it does not identify all errors. Be sure to reread several times, and have another read your essay as well to catch mistakes you as the author can't see. Pay special attention to sentence fragments, run-on sentences, needing a new paragraph, etc. If your essay contains numerous spelling and writing errors, it cannot win.

2016–17 Application Deadline

The deadline for completed applications is February 14, 2017.

More information is available on the scholarship application form.

To view the scholarship application form, please click here.