Student Contest

Strong Men & Women in Virginia History
2021 Student Contest

See the contest winners

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. While analyzing historical and contemporary injustices, students will use and develop creative and critical thinking skills. 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.


Many Americans are confronting the long history of racial violence in the United States that is often ignored and that has manifested itself in our political and social systems. Social justice has been described as fairness in the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. What does social justice mean to you? How has a lack of social justice throughout American history affected marginalized communities? What actions can you take in support of social justice?  

What do we mean when we use the term social justice? “The goal of social justice education is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society that is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure.“ from Adams, M., Bell, L. A., & Griffin, P. (2016). Teaching for Diversity and Social justice (Third edition). New York: Routledge

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)
    • Digital Project (photography, digital art, website, digital exhibit, documentary film)
    • Creative Writing (poetry, short speech, short story, essay)
  • Students are allowed to enter one submission during the contest period. Students should choose to compete in only one category.
  • Performance or digital project entries must include a video piece with narration describing what your project is and how it addresses the prompt.
  • Performance or documentary videos must run 5 minutes or under.
  • Creative Writing entries must include text (limited to 500 words) that describes how your written project addresses the prompt.

Contest Rules

  • Submit your project online by midnight, Friday, December 31, 2020, for 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 homeschooler 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 become the property of the Library of Virginia and will not be returned. 
  • 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. 

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.
  • Please paste an accessible link to a file or folder in your cloud storage in the submission form below. This can be anything, including a YouTube video, Vimeo video, DropBox link, OneDrive link, or Google Drive link. Be sure that the file is properly shared with the email AND 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 Friday, December 31, 2020, at midnight. 
  • Winners will be notified by Friday, January 15, 2021. 
  • Winning projects will be posted to the websites of both the Library of Virginia ( and Dominion Energy (, keyword “strong”) by January 21, 2021. 
  • The awards program will be held on Thursday evening, February 11, 2021, in Richmond (subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions).


  • 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 ceremony to receive their awards. Dominion Energy will provide overnight accommodations for out-of-town winners and their school representatives (subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Judging Criteria

  • Content—Reflection of careful and thorough thought 
  • Focus—All prompt questions answered and main idea clearly articulated 
  • Support—Relevant, 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

Feel free to use this area to submit creative writing entries by copying and pasting your text here.
Please paste a link to a file or folder in your cloud storage. This can be anything, including a YouTube video, Vimeo video, DropBox link, OneDrive link, or Google Drive link. Be sure that the file is properly shared with the email AND


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