The American Immigration Council is proud to sponsor the 17th annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. The contest inspires educators to bring U.S. Immigration history and lessons into their classrooms and gives fifth graders the opportunity to explore America as a nation of immigrants.
ABOUT THE CONTEST:
5th Grade writers use the theme “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants” to discuss their personal immigration experiences, learn about and share family histories or write about the broader questions of the challenges facing immigrants in a new land. Students enter their work in local contests which are sponsored by chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Each chapter forwards the local winning entry to the National Competition where entries are reviewed by a distinguished panel including U.S. senators, award-winning authors and noted journalists.
HOW IT WORKS:
The Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest kicks off in the fall or early winter (depending on the local contest rules) as volunteer attorneys from local AILA chapters visit teachers and classrooms. The attorneys give classroom presentations on immigration to inform students and teachers about the important role immigration plays in our society. The attorneys also explain contest details and get students excited about participating.
In the winter and early spring, teachers submit student entries to local AILA chapters who then select and honor a winner(s) on the local level. In April, local AILA chapters send winning entries to the Council, to be judged by our panel of national celebrity judges. The top national winner is announced in early May.
THE NATIONAL GRAND PRIZE:
The winner and two guests receive an all expenses paid trip to The Council’s American Heritage Awards where he/she is honored and reads his/her winning entry aloud. The winner also receives a travel stipend, engraved plaque, his/her winning entry printed in the Congressional Record and a flag flown over the Capitol in his/her honor.
Winner of the 2013 16th Annual Creative Writing Contest 
PAST NATIONAL JUDGES INCLUDE:
- Dave Eggers, Award Winning Author
- Gish Jen, Author
- Firoozah Dumas, Author
- Warren St. John, Author/Journalist
- Ken Mochizuki, Children’s Book Author
- W. Nikola Lisa, Children’s Book Author
- Edward M. Kennedy, Senator (D-MA)
- Charles E. Schumer, Senator (D-NY)
- Spence Abraham, Former Senator (R-MI)
- Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, Federal Judge
- Mary Williams, Founder of the Lost Boys Foundation
- Anthony Lewis, Noted Journalist (The New York Times)
- Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
TO LEARN MORE:
FIND YOUR LOCAL CONTEST