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World War 2 Essay Competition

E Pluribus Unum Essay Contest

Organization Name: The National World War II Museum
Description: The National World War II Museum invites high school students to share their thoughts on the question of “E Pluribus Unum”: Describe in your own words (1,000 or less) how people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences can best come together to ensure a vibrant, successful country. Use World War II as your starting point to demonstrate your thesis with historical exams of our country learning – or failing to learn – these lessons. Your essay should be an opinion piece, not a research paper. Entries will be judged for originality, clarity of expression, adherence to contest theme, historical accuracy, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Amount: The first place winner will receive $1,000; second place winner will receive $750; and third place winner will receive $500.
Awards Per Year: 3
Award is Open to: High School Students
Major/Field of Study: English, History
How to Apply/Contact: Submissions must be emailed to The National WWII Museum ( Only the first 500 valid entries will be accepted.

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Winners of the 2015 WWII Student Essay Contest!

WWII 7th War Bond Drive poster featuring the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima, 1945. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The National WWII Museum is pleased to announce the winners and runners-up for The 2014 National WWII Student Essay Contest! This year, we received over 5,200 essays from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as entries from the US territory of Guam. The Education Department at the Museum enjoyed reading your thoughtful and poignant responses to the 2015 prompt, “How do you define a hero?” inspired by the 70th Anniversary of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima.

With so many great essays, it was difficult to choose a winner. However, we are happy to share our winning selections and runners-up with you below and on our essay contest website. For those of you who are interested in reading the winning middle and high school essays, please click on the links below or visit our main essay contest webpage.

Middle school contest winners will receive a $250 prize, while honorable mentions from grades 5-8 will receive a WWII Museum baseball cap. The first place winner of the high school contest will be awarded $1000, while the second place and third place winners will receive $750 and $500, respectively.

Congratulations to all of the winners and honorable mentions for the 2015 essay contest, and thank you to everyone who participated! We hope you will check back at our website in January 2015 when we announce the 2016 Essay Contest theme!



2015 High School Essay Contest Winners

  • First Place: Sabrina Mahe, “No Capes Necessary,” Foothill High School, Henderson, NV
  • Second Place: Alexander Caines, “The Nature of a Hero,” Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL
  • Third Place: Julia Nguyen, “How Do You Define a Hero?” Kentridge High School, Kent, WA

2015 Middle School Essay Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions

5th Grade:

Honorable Mentions:

  • William Wegman, “Heroes: Past and Present,” Stuart Hall School for Boys, New Orleans, LA
  • Kylie Smith, “American Heroes,” Trimmer Elementary, York, PA

6th Grade:

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anya Ruzicka, “Cpl. Jack Schlegel and Mary Evelyn King: Unbroken,” Yorktown Middle School, Yorktown, VA
  • Erik Rennesund, “How Do You Define a Hero?” Walker Middle Magnet IB School, Odessa, FL
  • Ishrat Zarrin, “Heroes,” IS 303, Brooklyn, NY

7th Grade:

Honorable Mentions:

  • Isabella Mancini, “Our Thoughts About What Heroes Are Seem Like Snowflakes,” Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School, Merritt Island, FL
  • Laura Kim, “My Past, Present, and Future,” J. L. Stanford School, Palo Alto, CA
  • Angele Yang, “A Hero Sacrifices,” Creekside Enrichment School, Cupertino, CA

8th Grade:

Honorable Mentions:

  • Emma Hall, “Heroism: A Tribute,” Episcopal Collegiate School, Little Rock, AR
  • Angela Kang, “WWII Hero Essay,” Creekside Enrichment School, Cupertino, CA
  • Savannah Linares, “No Heroes,” Western Pines Community Middle School, West Palm Beach, FL

Great job, Everyone!

Post by Megan Byrnes, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

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