JACL AZ Essay Challenge Underway, Deadline Feb. 28, 2024

January 15, 2024

New Essay Prompt Encourages Intergenerational Interviews & Personal Storytelling

The JACL AZ Essay Challenge 2024 invites Arizona students to explore their heritage and the impact of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). The Essay Challenge is open until February 28, 2024, and encourages students residing in Arizona to participate.

Students from grades 4-12 can enter, with separate categories for high school (grades 9-12) and elementary/middle school (grades 4-8).

To qualify, participants should have membership ties to the JACL-AZ Chapter, Arizona Buddhist Temple, or Phoenix Life Church (http://www.phoenixlife.church).

The NEW essay prompts focus on interviews with relatives or acquaintances about their experiences during World War II or their migration journey from Japan to the United States.

Essays must be well-researched, double-spaced, typed, and meet word count criteria: 500-800 words for grades 4-8 and 1000-1500 words for grades 9-12. Submissions require a clear title, adherence to specified formatting, and inclusion of a bibliography.

Prizes include JACL memberships and monetary awards: at the high school level, first prize receives $500, second prize $300, and third prize $100. For elementary/middle school, grades 4-6 winners receive $100, and grades 7-8 winners receive $150.

This contest offers an enriching opportunity for Arizona students to delve into their heritage, learn from their community, and showcase their understanding through compelling essays.

The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2024, 11:59 PM.

To participate, visit the online submission form at https://bit.ly/JACLAZ_Essay_2024.


Essay Challenge Testimonial

Past Essay Challenge participant Ema Saliba shares how her essay, “A Thousand Paper Cranes,” focuses on her family’s tradition of origami-making, which deeply impacted her upbringing and offers life lessons on patience, discipline, and dedication.

Winning the middle school challenge was nice, but the real prize for her was affirming the emotional connection she felt with her family’s story and heritage.

Watch the video to hear in her own words the enjoyment she experienced in discovering and sharing her family’s culture through the essay challenge.


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