Please contact the Contest Coordinator at contests@hslda.org with any questions. We love your feedback!


Now Accepting Submissions! September 1st — November 1st.

THEME FOR OUR UPCOMING CONTEST

History will always have a mysterious side for us because we could not be there to witness most of the events that have taken place. We’ll never truly know what it was like to sit among the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, or to ration our food and help our fathers build bomb shelters in the backyard.

This year, explore that mystery! We can’t time-travel but we can study the past and learn from it how to rise above the challenges we face today and embrace a greater vision for our future.

There’s a lot to choose from for your essay—depending on your age, you can select a person, day or event from World History, US History, your state history, or even your family history.

To get started, put yourself in someone else’s shoes--or boots or moccasins—and let your imagination take you there!

  • Category 1 (Ages 7-10 as of October 1st): If you could go back in time, who would you most want to have a conversation with, why, and what would you want to talk about?

  • Category 2 (Ages 11-14 as of October 1st): If you could go back in time, what day would you most like to witness up close, like a fly on the wall, and why?

  • Category 3 (Ages 15-19 as of October 1st): If you could go back in time, what historical event would you like to have been involved in, and why?

See Rules & Guidelines for important instructions!



CATEGORY 1 (ages 7-10)

Using the principles of a descriptive essay, write a letter expressing gratitude to someone who has influenced your life. A strong essay will vividly describe the details of what this person’s role is and what they have done for you.


First Place Winner


“Thank You, Miss Elizabeth”
Katie Ross of Bluffton, SC

Second Place Winner


“A Person of Inspiration”
Heather Jajeh of Mobile, AL

Third Place Winner


“My Thanks to Boone”
Lucy Combs of Antelope, OR

Honorable Mention


“My Awesome Dad”
David Rainer of Taylors, SC

Honorable Mention


“Dear Brother”
Rosalie Chiang of Fremont, CA

Finalists

  • To the Brother I Promised Never to Talk to by Kristie Benel
  • The Inspiring Life of My Godfather by Sofia Castillo
  • Grateful for Daddy by Adriane Engen
  • Brunnerville Fire Company Willing to Help by Isaiah Hensen-Oliver
  • Dear Mom: Letter of Gratitude by Alexandra Knope
  • Dear Mr. Hamby by Elena Leszczynski
  • Being Grateful by Nadia Maret
  • Thank You Letter to My Mom by Andre Matevosian
  • Dear Dad by Reggie Robertson
  • My Letter to My Piano Teacher by Silas Smith
  • Dear Elizabeth Elliot by Helen Zachary

CATEGORY 2 (ages 11-14)

Using the principles of a narrative essay, write a letter expressing gratitude to someone who has influenced your life. A strong essay will share a compelling story that documents how this person’s actions have impacted you and/or your community.


First Place Winner


“Lifesaver”
Abigail Lewis of Sycamore, IL

Second Place Winner


“Adopted by a Forever Father”
Hannah Hauenschild of Cabbot, PA

Third Place Winner


“A Gardener's Gratitude: A Letter of Thanks to C.S. Lewis”
Ruth Nguyen of North Augusta, SC

Honorable Mention


“Working Man”
Katelyn Skrdlant of Norton, KS

Honorable Mention


“Words of Wisdom”
Colby Eagan of Concord, NC

Finalists

  • Dear Sarah by Andrea Callaway
  • Defeat by Brennan Carbonell
  • Home Education: A Gift, A Decision, and A Choice by Leila Castillo
  • Dear Peter and Nathan by Hannah Eby
  • Dear Dad: A Simple Thank You is Not Enough by Aaron Frish
  • Immovable in the Impossible by Jaylene Koon
  • The Wild West Show by Delaney McClanahan
  • Dear Ellen by Jessica Meyers
  • Unsung Hero: Members of the United States Armed Forces by Haley Schmeltzer

CATEGORY 3 (ages 15-19)

Using the principles of a cause and effect essay, write a letter expressing gratitude to someone who has influenced your life or your community. A strong essay will clearly connect what actions the addressee took that caused specific positive outcomes to follow.


First Place Winner


“A Friend and a Mentor”
Justin Holiman of Chula Vista, CA

Second Place Winner


“Learning to Live: What Tolkein Taught Me”
Aberdeen Livingstone of Ft. Leavenworth, KS

Third Place Winner


“My Teacher, My Mentor”
Havuka Lund of Amarillo, TX

Honorable Mention


“The Gratitude of Nations”
Morgan McKay Hoppmann of Evans, GA

Honorable Mention


“A New Hope”
Joshua Orsi of New Oxford, PA

Finalists

  • For Mrs. C: My Latin Tutor by Elsie Becker
  • Dear Granddaddy by Alyssa Bell
  • It is So by Anna Casady
  • Bridging the Gap by Natalie Dickson
  • A Joyful Spirit by Arianna Edwards
  • To My Siblings by Seriah Getty
  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Gratitude by Lydia Hill
  • Dear Grandpa by Cody Kimminau
  • That’s the Power of Love by Sophie Lemaignen
  • But Thou Excellest Them All by Libby Lindblom
  • The Little Yellow Room by Josey Moore
  • A Letter of Thanks to the Ballet Students of Studio Six by Madeline Peltzer
  • A Freedom Fighter by Anne Schmus