2024 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.


Mary McLeod Bethune’s legacy of educational entrepreneurship and literacy has made a lasting impact on individuals across the Palmetto State and beyond, including South Carolina’s very own State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver. The little girl from Mayesville once stated, “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” In your words, write about an African American person from South Carolina who has positively impacted your educational journey.

Contest Rules

  • Submit your 500-word essay below by March 29, 2024 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 29, 2024.
  • Judging will take place April 1 – April 19.
  • Winners will be notified in late April.


  • Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air.
  • Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000.
  • Winning students and their school representatives MUST attend the ceremony to receive their awards.

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

Essay Submission

Submit your essays at https://bit.ly/StudentWritingContest.


Please email us at scafricanamerican@ed.sc.gov with any questions.