Celebrate our 20th anniversary
Get Up! Get Active! Get Involved! Get Healthy!
Home | Calendar | Links | Power Player Award | SportsWORLD | Contact Us

Essay Contest
Join the Nation's Largest Essay Contest

The Grand Canyon State Games Essay Contest promotes creativity through writing as an effective method for authors of ALL ages (grades K-12 and adults ages 18 or older) to express their dreams and ideas for a successful life and a better community. This contest continues to invite all 47 other State Games to compete in this year's competition. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Grand Canyon State Games. Over the years, more than 429,000 participants have had the chance to enjoy the spirit of competition in sports, games, and an art / essay contest. The Essay Contest provides an opportunity to encourage writers of all ages to convey their ideas through words as well. The vision of healthy self-improvement through friendly competition continues in the Essay Contest.




  1. Essay ContestGet Up! Get Active! Get Involved! Get Healthy! Tell why your lifestyle should include exercising, eating right and getting plenty of sleep in order to build a healthy body and mind and a strong heart.

  2. Come up with a new Drowning Prevention message.

  3. Sit on the sidelines or get in the game? Explain why it is important to "get in the game" and be active in the fight against obesity.

  4. "Draw the Line" by saying NO to alcohol and drugs. Tell how avoiding alcohol, drugs and tobacco can enhance your life, your family's life and your community.

  5. You may have heard the phrase, "There is no 'I' in team." Explain what this means to you.

  6. Communication technology- email, texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc. – tell what impact you think it has had.

Essay ContestAll essays must be accompanied by an entry form with the following information about the individual submitting the written work or it will not be entered into the contest:


  • Title of Essay
  • Full name.
  • GRADE LEVEL (youth) or AGE (adults).
  • Address (including name of school, facility, or group home if applicable)
  • Email Address
  • Name, address, and phone number of adult sponsor for grades 12 and under.
  • (For Youth) Certification by the author's parent(s) and /or teacher or principal that the essay represents the independent work of the child (parents and/or teachers may assist the student to check his or her essay, but the essay must be in the child's own words).
  • (For Adults) Entries must have adult author's signature certifying authenticity.
  • Entries may be in English or Spanish.


Essay ContestA. Eligibility. All youth-kindergarten through adults 25+.

B. Each participant may submit ONLY ONE essay.

C. Categories. The contest will be divided into sixteen divisions.YOUTH enter by GRADE LEVEL, not by age. Therefore, a student should enter the category that reflects his or her grade level in school, whether or not the student has been accelerated or has elected not to advance to the next grade level. ADULTS 18 or older enter by AGE.

Grades K, 1, 2, 3
Grades 4, 5, 6
Grades 7, 8, 9
Grades 10, 11, 12
Adults 18 to 49
Adults 50+
Spanish K-12
75-150 words
100-200 words
200-300 words
300-500 words
300-500 words
300-500 words
See above for word limit.

D. All essays submitted become the property of the Grand Canyon State Games.

Judges and Criteria


The judges shall be appointed by Grand Canyon State Games. Judges will be chosen from colleges, public and private school systems, government, and the private sector.



Judging Criteria

A. Originality and clarity of thought.
B. Evidence of having read appropriate materials relating to the theme.
C. Persuasiveness of argument.
D. Beauty of expression (i.e. use of appropriate words and rhetoric).
E. Complete cover page, including correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.


Medals will be awarded for 1st (Gold), 2nd (Silver), and 3rd (Bronze) for each grade/age group (kindergarten thru grade 12, adults ages 19 to 24, and adults 25+) and for the top three (3) overall Spanish essays. The ten schools with the highest participation percentage will receive recognition. Winners will be recognized throughout the year at Grand Canyon State Games events.


The purposes of the Grand Canyon State Games Essay Contest are:

A. To encourage all authors to develop their critical thinking skills.
B. To reward authors who devote the required time and effort to improving their research skills.
C. To reward families, teachers, and students who work diligently to improve the above skills.
D. To prove that one person can make a difference in our communities.

Essays must be postmarked no later than January 20, 2012.


The address for submission is:
Grand Canyon State Games
2120 East 6th Street, Suite 4, Tempe, AZ 85281
Questions? Call us at (480) 517-9700