Student Contest

Strong Men & Women in Virginia History
2024 Student Creative Expressions Contest

See the 2024 contest finalists here.

Contest Overview

High school students in Virginia are invited to honor outstanding African Americans by participating in Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia’s Strong Men & Women in Virginia History student contest. This year’s contest is built around the inquiry process of project-based learning and is designed to hit grade-specific standards through a multidisciplinary approach. Students will use and develop creative and critical thinking skills as they clearly communicate contemporary issues that concern them. Winners will receive an Apple MacBook Air and $1,000 for their schools. Four winning projects will be chosen, one project from each of four regions in the state.


The biographies of the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History honorees are a testament to their determination and perseverance when faced with challenges and/or campaigning for change. (Biographies of past honorees can be seen here.) What challenge do you see within your community? What are some ways you can bring attention to this issue to promote positive change in the future? Write a letter, short speech or story, song or poem; design a website or piece of digital art; or create a video addressing that challenge to raise awareness in your community.

Contest Entries

  • All projects must fully address the prompt above.
  • Projects cannot be collaborative — no more than one student per project entry.
  • All projects must fall under one of the categories below:
    • Performance (can include a song or dance; only original music created by or music licensed by the entrant will be allowed in the video)
    • Digital Project (photography, digital art, website, digital exhibit, documentary film)
    • Creative Writing (poetry/spoken word, short speech, short story, letter)
  • Students may enter only one submission during the contest period.
  • Students may compete in only one category.
  • Performance or documentary videos must run no more than 3 minutes.
  • Creative Writing entries are limited to 400 words.

Contest Rules

  • Submit your project online by midnight, Sunday, December 31, 2023for a chance to win an Apple MacBook Air and $1,000 for your school!
  • Each entrant must be a high school student at a public or private high school in Virginia. Homeschoolers also may apply; the $1,000 school award can be applied to a homeschool association if the winner’s family has an active, dues-paying membership. 
  • One winner will be selected from each of Dominion Energy’s four regional service areas (Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western). 
  • All entries must be original works that have not been published or submitted for publication anywhere else. 
  • Every project submission must have a teacher sponsor. 
  • Entries must not incite violence or promote bigotry, racism, or hatred against any group.
  • The Library of Virginia and Dominion Energy reserve the right to use the winners’ names and entries for promotional purposes in all forms of media without notice, review, approval, or compensation, except where prohibited by law. 
  • Entries become the property of the Library of Virginia and will not be returned.

Audio/Video Requirements

(Only for submissions that require audio/visual)

  • Entries must be filmed and edited in high resolution but submitted in 1080 HD or lower. Do not submit entries in 4K. 
  • Entries should be screened in 16:9 aspect ratio. If your film is submitted in a different ratio, your film will be letterboxed to display on the 16:9 screen.
  • Maximum file size to upload will be 500MB.
  • If the entry is a video or digital submission, paste a link to a file or folder in your cloud storage and make sure it is properly shared to the email address The link can be to a YouTube video, Vimeo video, OneDrive link or Google Drive link. During the contest window, the contest must have exclusive viewing rights to the video. After winners have been selected and notified, the student may select to give additional viewers access. If you are having issues uploading a link, please email us at
  • When uploading your entry, you must use the following file naming conventions:


  • Deadline for entries is Sunday, December 31, 2023, at midnight. 
  • Winners will be notified by Friday, January 26, 2024. 
  • Winning projects will be posted to the websites of both the Library of Virginia ( and Dominion Energy (, keyword “strong”) by February 9, 2024. 


  • Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air.
  • Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000.
  • Winning students and their school representatives must attend the dinner, which will be held in Richmond on February 22, 2024, to receive their awards. Dominion Energy will provide overnight accommodations for out-of-town winners and their school representatives.

Judging Criteria

  • Content — Reflection of careful and thorough thought 
  • Focus — All prompt questions answered and main idea clearly articulated 
  • Support — Relevant, high-quality details about important thoughts and concepts 
  • Style — Project flows well
  • Mechanics — Correct use of grammar, spelling, and punctuation 
  • Originality — Project conveys an original idea

Submission Form

Paste the text of your written submission (letter, poem, etc.) here. If submitting a video or digital project, include a brief description of how it addresses the prompt here.
If you are submitting a video or digital project, please paste a link to a file or folder in your cloud storage. This can be anything, including a YouTube video, Vimeo video, OneDrive link, or Google Drive link. Be sure that the file is properly shared to the email address


Please call 804.692.3999 or email