2018 NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest

The 2018 Contest theme is "Once Upon a Time in Louisiana." Entrants are invited to address one of the following two prompts (not both):

1) A creative non-fiction essay in which they describe an experience that could only have happened to them in Louisiana. Personal reflections and experiences are perfectly valid as part of the essay content. Essays may be in narrative form if the student so chooses.

2) A folk or fairy tale set in 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 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.

Length: Approximately 1,000 - 2,500+ words. All entries should have titles and should be typed (double spaced, 12-point font, standard margins). Deadline: May 31, 2018.

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.

All entries should be sent as e-mail attachments to Dr. Shane Rasmussen, rasmussens@nsula.edu or by mail to the Louisiana Folklife Center, NSU Box 3663, Natchitoches, LA 71497. Please include a separate cover page with your name, school affiliation, personal mailing address, personal phone number, personal e-mail address, and the title of your entry. "2018 NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest" should be the subject line of e-mails. Prize-winning students will be notified by July 15, 2018.

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 $1600 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.

The three prize-winning entries will be published in the Louisiana Folklife Journal, an academic journal produced by the Louisiana Folklife Center, Northwestern State University, General Editor, Dr. Shane Rasmussen. (Entries may be subject to minor revision before publication.) Submission to the contest entails granting permission to publish the entry in the Louisiana Folklife Journal. The three prize-winning students will also be invited to present their essay at the 10th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference held at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on Saturday September 22, 2018.

Additional information is available on the website for the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University: https://louisianafolklife.nsula.edu/.

Essay Contest Co-chairs:

Dr. Lisa Abney, Faculty Facilitator for Academic Research and Community College Outreach and Professor of English, Northwestern State University

Jason Church, Materials Conservator, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

Lisa Davis, National Writing Project Director and Instructor of English and Education

Dr. Shane Rasmussen, Director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and Associate Professor of English


Sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the NSU Writing Project, the College of Arts, Sciences, Graduate Studies and Research, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Office of Recruiting at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.