Student Essay Contest

Strong Men & Women in Virginia History
2019 Student Writing Contest

This contest has ended!

See the 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 writing contest. Four winning essays will be chosen, one from each of the four regions in the state.


The Strong Men & Women in Virginia History honorees strive to combat inequalities in the world around them. Fannie W. Fitzgerald was a pioneer in desegregating public schools as a teacher. Reverend Lawrence A. Davies has worked to bring affordable health care and public transportation to his community. Kwame Alexander established his own press to publish underrepresented authors. What does equality mean to you? Which past honoree embodies that definition for you? How can you embody that definition in your life—now and in the future? Find the list here:

Contest Rules

  • Submit your 400-word essay online by midnight, Friday, November 16, 2018, 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.
  • Entries should not exceed 400 words.
  • Entries become the property of the Library of Virginia and will not be returned.
  • 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.


  • Deadline for entries is Friday, November 16, 2018, at midnight.
  • Winners will be notified by December 14, 2018.
  • Winning essays will be posted to the websites of both the Library of Virginia ( and Dominion Energy (, keyword “strong”) websites by January 11, 2019.
  • The awards program will be held on Thursday evening, February 7, 2019, in Richmond.


  • 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.

Judging Criteria


Reflection of careful and thorough thought


Prompt questions answered and main idea clearly articulated


Relevant, quality details about important thoughts and concepts


Essay flows well and shows good word choice and structure


Correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation