Essay and Visual Art Contests

2021 FSCJ Author Series Contests

Each year, the FSCJ Author Series holds student contests focused on the book’s theme.

Essay Contest

In her book “Taking Flight”, Michaela De Prince shows us how she persevered and achieved a goal that once seemed impossible. The journey she took from Sierra Leone to the world of professional ballet is inspiring and a testament to her dedication and dream.

In a 500 to 600-word essay, explain how you have persevered when faced with a challenge. How have you and Michaela De Prince demonstrated grit? What does it take to keep going when the goal seems farther away than ever?

Format: Double-spaced, MLA-style header and pagination and one-inch margins all around. The essay must have a creative title specific to the topic of your paper.

Contest Rules:

  • Attach a cover sheet to the essay that includes your name, email address and phone number
  • Contest is open to FSCJ students only
  • By entering this contest, you consent to having your entry displayed in FSCJ galleries
  • Submission deadline is February 26, 2021. Winners will be announced March 19, 2021
  • Only one entry per student will be accepted
  • Essays will be judged by the Author Series Committee

Judging Criteria:

  • 50% on addressing the theme's message
  • 30% well-developed paragraphs
  • 20% on originality

The essay should be organized with well-developed body paragraphs that highlight the subject's abilities and also contain minimal errors in the area of grammar, punctuation and mechanics.

Submission Deadline: February 26, 2021 Submit entries to Dr. Lisa Van Zwoll.


  • First Place: $400
  • Second Place: $300
  • Third Place: $200
  • Fourth Place: $100
  • Fifth Place: $100