Applications being accepted for NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest

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The 14th annual NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest is open for submissions until June 1. The essay contest is open to all Louisiana students in grades 9-12 regardless of type of school institution, including students in all types of private educational environments, as well as home schooled students.

The 2022 Contest theme is “Supernatural Louisiana.” Entrants are invited to address one of the following two prompts.

They can write a folk or fairy tale with a Louisiana setting. Students may make up their own tale or may base their tale upon those collected by famous tale collectors (such as the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault) or upon the adventures of a traditional folk or fairy tale hero such as Anansi the Spider or Momotaro. However, students should not retell stories based upon animated or live action films.

Entrants could also write a fictional or poetic text with a supernatural component in a Louisiana setting. Students may write either a short story or a poem that addresses some aspect of the supernatural in Louisiana. Possible approaches might include a ghost story set in Louisiana or a poetic description or fictional prose account of an encounter with a supernatural entity such as a feu follet, vampire, or rougarou. However, students should not base their stories or poems upon stories or poems already published in print or on the Internet, or retell a story based upon animated or live action films.

Essays should be approximately 1,000 – 2,500+ words, should have titles and should be typed (double spaced, 12-point font, standard margins). Entries should include a cover sheet with the student’s name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address, school affiliation and the title of their entry. Entries may be submitted via e-mail to Dr. Shane Rasmussen, rasmussens@nsula.edu or mailed to the Louisiana Folklife Center, NSU Box 3663, Natchitoches, LA 71497. “2022 NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest” should be the subject line of e-mails. The deadline for contest submissions is June 1. Prize-winning students will be notified by July 15.

The prizes for the contest winners are 1st place – $150; 2nd place – $100; and 3rd place – $50. In addition, essay contest winners will receive a $200/per semester NSU scholarship with a value up to $1,600 if they attend NSU for four years.  This award is in addition to other scholarship awards that the student may receive from Northwestern State University. Winners must have at least a 20 ACT composite or 950 on the SAT, as well as at least a 2.0 GPA to be eligible. Essay winners need to submit proof of the award. Winning essayists will be invited to read their paper at the 14th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference to be held on the NSU campus on Saturday September 17.

The top three winning entries will also be published in the Louisiana Folklife Journal. Submission of an entry to the contest entails granting permission to publish the essay in the Louisiana Folklife Journal. Entries may be subject to minor revision prior to publication. Additional information is available on the website for the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University: https://louisianafolklife.nsula.edu/.

The essay contest is sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Office of University Recruiting at Northwestern State University.