About Us

Global Harmony Through Personal Excellence, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. Its mission is to support the expression and humanity of children. Read more.

2015 Essay Contest Theme



SPONSOR: Global Harmony Through Personal Excellence, Inc.

Our website is

THEME: Write about a personal situation in your own life that you experience as unfair. Sharing your thoughts and feelings, show us why this experience is unfair. What qualities do you have to deal with this situation in a constructive way? In your eyes, is there a way to bring fairness to the situation?

RESPONSE DATE: Monday, May 4, 2015 by 6:00 p.m. Essays must be emailed, postmarked, or hand delivered by 6:00 p.m. on May 4.

ELIGIBILITY: Students in grades 4-9 in a DC Public School or Public Charter School.


  • 250 – 450 words (grades 4-6). Typed or neatly handwritten in the student’s own handwriting.
  • 450 – 650 words (grades 7-9). Must be typed.
  • Each entry must have the following information: the student’s name, grade level, name of school, phone number of school, and the name, telephone number, and email of a teacher to contact. The telephone number and email for the student are appreciated, but not required.
  • Entries need to address the theme listed above.
  • Entries must be about a true experience from the student’s life.
  • All entries become the permanent property of the sponsor.
  • Email entries must be sent to the correct grade level address.

PRIZES: Winners in each category (grades 4-6 & 7-9) will receive the following cash awards:

  • First Place – $350.00 and certificate
  • Second Place – $300.00 and certificate
  • Third Place – $275.00 and certificate
  • Fourth Place – $250.00 and certificate
  • Fifth Place – $225.00 and certificate
  • Honorable Mention – $100.00 and certificate

Winners will be announced by May 15, 2015.

Prizes will be awarded May 28 in downtown Washington. Students with prize-winning essays read their essays aloud. Winners and honorable mentions are required to attend the celebration to receive their prize. Winners and their essays will be publicized. Pictures, essays, and videos of the students’ reading their prize winning essays may be used on our website, donor pages, and other places to honor and to show case the success of the student and to increase the visibility and viability of the “Celebration of Youth” essay contest.

JUDGING: Entries will be judged on: authentic expression, writing skills, adherence to the guidelines, spelling, clarity, originality, and neatness. This contest values thoughtful, heartfelt self- expression about oneself and one’s life.

ADDITIONAL AWARDS: A minimum of twenty five students will receive an Award of Special Mention in June. Priority will be given to students from schools not represented in the winner and honorable mention categories. These students will be notified by mail. The award includes a letter of congratulations and a $25.00 check.

CHECKLIST: Questions to ask before submitting:

  • Did I address the topic? Are my examples and details true?
  • Does the length of my essay follow the guidelines?
  • Do I have a cover page with all the information?
  • Did I do a spell and grammar check?
  • Is my essay as neat as I can make it?
  • Do I want to have a coach check my essay? See contact information for UDC’s chapter of the International English Honor Society.

COACHING SUPPORT from the International English Honor Society at UDC: Contact

TO SUBMIT by email: Use the emails below ONLY to submit your essays.

TO SUBMIT by mail or in person:

Dorothea and Jim Brady
3925 Livingston Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 200l5-2921

To contact Dorothea or Jim Brady, call 202 244-1682 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. or email


The Twenty-Seventh “CELEBRATION OF YOUTH” Essay Contest
is proudly sponsored by


Telephone: (202) 244-1682

March 20, 2015

Dear Principals, Teachers, and all other Magnificent Supporters of Young People,

We would be honored to have your students participate in the twenty-seventh “Celebration of Youth” essay contest. This writing competition is open to all children in grades 4 through 9 who attend a DC public school or a publically funded charter school. Our tradition is our goal; we want to have winners from schools all across the city. The winners will come together to read their essays to a gathered audience at the end of May.

The theme, the list of contest guidelines, our phone number, and other information are given on the page that says Contest Announcement. This accompanying letter provides useful information and gives advice about the contest. All of this information is posted on our web site. We also send out emails and list the announcement in DCPS and DCPCS Enewsletters.

Once again we are able to offer quality support to students who want to enter the contest and may want or need assistance with ideas, clarity, grammar, and over all supervision with their essay. Dr. Helene Krauthamer is an English professor at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and a faculty advisor for the UDC chapter of the International English Honor Society of Sigma Tau Delta – Alpha Epilson Rho. Francies Stephenson is the past president of the local chapter at UDC. Both are available for coaching and Dr. Krauthamer is gathering a team of additional coaches willing to help students with their essays for this contest. We are delighted to partner with them, and they are excited about supporting young people in developing and refining their writing skills. Contact information for Dr. Krauthamer and Francies is listed on the Contest Announcement page. We want to ensure that every eligible student who wants to enter has the necessary support. Also, this coaching opportunity can support teachers who want students to participate in the contest, but simply do not have the time to devote to this opportunity.

The contest due date is 6:00pm on Monday, May 4, 2014. Students may submit their essays by email. Hand delivery and regular mail are also options. The post mark on a mailed submission must be no later than May 4.

At least ten winners, five from grades 4-6 and five from grades 7-9, will be chosen. Twenty-two students will be declared honorable mentions. Winner and Honorable Mention students will be honored in downtown DC on May 28. At this celebration the students declared as Winners will read their prize winning essays. To receive their prize, winners and honorable mentions must attend the acknowledgment ceremony. Parents, teachers, principals, classmates, and the media are invited to honor and to witness the students and their achievements

We are proud that students from all sections of the city have won and that a majority of the eligible schools have participated over the 27 years. While good writing skills are important, our contest highly values authentic expression. Winning essays show self-reflection. The student might reveal humor or express emotional depth. The winning essays are rich in detail and give personal examples from the student’s own life. An essay with an interesting story or a unique approach to the theme can go far in this contest. The student with a prize winning essay has an honest, clear, and heartfelt way of writing about the topic. Many criteria are taken into consideration, and this gives students who never thought they could express well, a chance to win and be valued for sharing their thoughts and feelings.

For your essay to be competitive, we encourage you to follow the guidelines. Essays which do not clearly address the theme will automatically be disqualified. Essays that are way too short or substantially over the word limit will not win. One entry per student is the rule.

If teachers have entered students in the past and your students have not won, please do not give up. Different themes speak to different children. Some children don’t do well one year and go on to win in the next. Every year brings fresh opportunity.

To encourage the participation of students, sometimes a principal will appoint a reading coach, counselor, or particular teacher within the school to coordinate this contest. Teachers might make the contest a writing assignment, or brainstorm with interested students, encouraging them to explore, organize, and personalize the theme. Identifying personal examples can be helpful to the student’s success in the contest. Teachers can help spell check. Or, this year a teacher can direct the students to a team of coaches at UDC.

This is an essay contest that need not be restricted to English classes. Many counselors, coaches, and teachers, including those of art, science, music, math, and after school programs have supported students in entering the competition. Students may enter independently. Because students can now enter on line, more students are entering on their own.

Volunteers, coaches, and judges contribute their time and talents to support the children. Past judges have included authors, professional writers, university professors, and many members of the press corps. Community leaders, politicians, sport teams, and special figures around the world have praised the childrens’ efforts in this contest. There is support for DCPS children.

We would be honored and delighted to receive entries from your students for the “Celebration of Youth” essay contest. We hope you participate, but whether you do or don’t, we wish you and the students much success and well-being. For the challenging and necessary work you do every day as our city’s educators, we thank you and we salute you. You are invaluable.

With respect, admiration, thankfulness, and anticipation,

Dorothea and Jim Brady, Rebecca Carroll, Donna Philpitt

Comments are closed.