Student Contest

Strong Men & Women in Virginia History
2023 Student Creative Expressions Contest

See the 2022 contest winners 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. 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.


American history is broad and complex with stories of local events, places, and people often missing from the mainstream narrative. Sometimes these hidden histories have been ignored, forgotten, or even purposefully erased. What stories are hidden in your community? How can they be remembered and shared so that more people can learn about them? Is there a story about a current person, event, or place that you think needs to be documented so it isn’t hidden from future generations?

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 his/her video)
    • 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 are limited to 500 words and must include a description of how your written project addresses the prompt.

Contest Rules

  • Submit your project online by midnight, Friday, April 7, 2023 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 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 a video recording accompanies the entry, acceptable file formats include:
    • Please paste an accessible link to a file or folder in your cloud storage in the submission form below. This can be a YouTube video, Vimeo video, or DropBox link. Be sure the file is shared properly with the email and 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. This method is preferred. If you are having issues uploading a link, please email us at
    • MOV, MP4, FLV, or WMV
  • When uploading your entry, you must use the following file naming conventions:


  • Deadline for entries is Friday, April 7, 2023 at midnight. 
  • Winners will be notified by Friday, May 5, 2023. 
  • Winning projects will be posted to the websites of both the Library of Virginia ( and Dominion Energy (, keyword “strong”) by May 12, 2023. 


  • 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, which will be held in Richmond on June 15, 2023, to receive their awards. Dominion Energy will provide overnight accommodations for out-of-town winners and their school representatives. Dominion Energy may change this event If required by COVID-19 restrictions and based on health protocols.

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.
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, DropBox link, OneDrive link, or Google Drive link. Be sure that the file is properly shared with the email AND


Please call 804.692.3999 or email