2023 Student Writing Contest

Contest Overview

South Carolina high school juniors and seniors are invited to honor outstanding South Carolina African Americans by participating in Dominion Energy and the South Carolina Department of Education’s Strong Men & Women in South Carolina History student writing contest. Five (5) winning essays will be chosen.  Read more below.


The International African American Museum (IAAM) is expected to open soon on the hallowed grounds of the Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina. This highly anticipated museum will commemorate and celebrate the foundational role that Africans and their descendants played in the making of America, and highlight their connections around the world. Tell why you think it is important to learn about the history of African Americans and their contributions to South Carolina.

Contest Rules

  • Submit your 500-word essay below by March 24, 2023 for a chance to win an Apple MacBook Air and $1,000 for your school!
  • Each entrant must be a high school junior or senior at a public or private high school in South Carolina. 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 Five Regions (Midlands, Upstate, Lowcountry, Pee Dee, CSRA).
  • All entries must be original works that have not been published or submitted for publication anywhere else.
  • Entries should not exceed 500 words.
  • Entries become the property of the South Carolina Department of Education and will not be returned.
  • The South Carolina Department of Education and Dominion Energy reserve the right to use the winners’ names and entries for promotional purposes in all forms of media without notice on their official website, review, approval or compensation, except where prohibited by law.


  • Deadline for entries is March 24, 2023.
  • Winners will be notified late April. Winning essays will be posted to the websites of both the South Carolina Department of Education and Dominion Energy.


  • Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air.
  • Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000.

Judging Criteria

Content Reflection of careful and thorough thought
Focus Prompt questions must be answered, and main idea clearly articulated, or essay will be disqualified
Support Relevant, quality details about important thoughts and concepts
Style Essay flows well and shows good word choice and structure
Mechanics Correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation


Submit your essay to scafricanamerican@ed.sc.gov by March 24, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.