You Might Even Win Something!

Jul 07, 2020 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


In middle school, Malachi decided to do something he had never done before. He summoned up his courage, wrote an essay, and submitted it to a writing contest. What he learned in the process he reveals to our readers in this blog piece. Share it with your students, and hopefully it will inspire them to submit their own piece to a writing contest. They may even be delighted to discover that they have won!

I was nine years old when our family decided to start homeschooling. Upon moving to Wichita, Kansas, it seemed better to start the homeschooling journey rather than brave a large public school system. Choosing which curriculum to use was a challenge, but we knew we had made the right choice with IEW. My older brother and I loved watching Andrew Pudewa’s videos and were able to retain lots of information due to his effective teaching style. In only a few weeks, our writing had improved drastically, and a clear difference was visible.

A few years later while perusing the booths at the Kansas State Fair, I was drawn to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) display. Being an avid lover of history, I was attracted to a field of red poppies denoting remembrance of the First World War. I began to talk to the veterans at the booth, at which time they introduced me to the Patriot’s Pen essay competition, an event hosted every year by the VFW as a chance for middle school writers to practice their skills and win scholarships. We decided to enter, seeing as there was no harm in trying. The topic for the year was “Why I Honor the American Flag,” and my task was to write a 500-word essay on the subject. With some modifying of the IEW assignments, we were able to incorporate the competition into our regular school schedule. I took to the work with vigor and in a few weeks had a complete piece to submit.

I had no idea what to expect. I had never entered an essay competition before, and the only people who had ever read my writing were my family. To my delight and surprise, I won our post competition, being chosen over about 150 other essays. Then my essay won at the district level. Such an amount of success was not expected, and I eagerly awaited the trip to Topeka to see who would win the state. At a banquet hosted by the VFW, I was declared winner of the state, and my essay was submitted to the national competition. The following months passed with my eager anticipation as I waited to see who would come out on top. I ended up placing nineteenth in the nation, winning over one thousand dollars. I had never expected to go as far as I did, and having succeeded in such a manner, I can say with confidence that it was a highly gratifying experience.

So if you haven’t thought about entering your writing into a competition, consider it. If you are considering entering, do it! There is no harm in putting your work out there, and it is a great opportunity to share Christian values through writing. If you are taking the IEW writing program, you have a high chance of success, and even if you don't win, the lessons you will learn from competition writing are highly valuable. So go out there and get involved in local essay competitions. Who knows? You might even win something!

The benefits of submitting essays to writing competitions extend far beyond the potential of winning an award. Writing contests are a great means to build a student’s writing skills in a gratifying way. And they also afford students the opportunity to learn more about a topic. IEW curates a list of writing contests. Check it out to see if there’s one that catches your student’s eye. And IEW’s Marci Harris wrote a blog post detailing even more benefits of entering writing contests, which you can find here. With all of the opportunities out there, your students will hopefully feel inspired to try their own hands at writing a winning entry. Good luck!

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