National D-Day Museum Student Online Essay Contest

2014 National Student Essay Contest Begins!

Attention, all teachers, middle and high school students! Registration for the Museum’s annual national student essay contest begins on Monday, January 6th, 2014. In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion in Normandy, this year’s essay theme is “‘The Way It’s Going to Be:’ Planning for Victory (or Success) At All Costs,” and asks students to reflect on a time in their lives when they had to make important plans for success in spite of uncertainty. Participants must use WWII as a starting point to answer the essay questions: “How did you plan to achieve success in the face of the unknown?” and “How did you handle any challenges to reach your goal?”

In the essay prompt, students are asked to think about the example of Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower and the rest of the leaders of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) as they faced the tremendous challenge of planning for the Normandy invasion to liberate Europe from Nazi rule.  As Eisenhower stated in January 1944:

“This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success.”

Eisenhower talking with Paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division before the Invasion of Normandy. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The stakes were high, and Eisenhower and the rest of SHAEF were determined that victory be achieved at all costs, even if they could not see into the future to determine what the outcome of the conflict would be. Likewise, students are challenged to make a connection between planning for their own futures and the actions of decision-makers during WWII. While not a research paper per se, essays will be evaluated based on the student’s use of specific historic and contemporary examples to support their argument, the essay’s originality, clarity of expression, and adherence to contest theme, as well as its historical accuracy, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The 2014 Museum Student Essay Contest is open to all middle school (grades 5-8) and all high school (grades 9-12) students in the United States, United States territories, and military bases. Middle school students in grades 5-8 must write and submit an essay that is 500 words or less, while high school students in grades 9-12 are required to submit an essay that is 1,000 words or less. Winning essays and honorable mentions will be posted on The National WWII Museum website and students will be eligible to receive cash and other prizes for their essay submissions.

All essays must be submitted through The National WWII Museum’s Essay Contest web site by March 28, 2014, 5:00 pm. CST.

To learn more about how to participate in this year’s essay contest and to read examples from last year’s contest, please visit the Museum’s contest site at We look forward to reading all of this year’s fabulous essays!

The Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

D-Day troops preparing for landing. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.


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The National WWII Museum is pleased to announce High School Essay Contest and Middle School Essay Contest. To commemorate the life, courage and achievements of Elie Wiesel, the National WWII Museum is asking middle and high school students to respond to a quote by Wiesel about his life and legacy. Winning essays will be posted on The National WWII Museum’s website, along with honorable mentions. A total amount of $2250 will be given to high school students and $250 award will be given to middle school students.

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world.  The Museum features immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences and an expansive collection of artifacts and first-person oral histories to take visitors inside the story of the war


  • The contest is open to all high school students in the United States, United States Territories, and military bases.
  • The contest is open to all middle school students in grades 5-8 in the United States, United States Territories, and military bases.
  • Only one essay per student may be submitted.

How to Apply:

For applying the scholarship, the candidates must submit an an essay. For your essay, please write a response to Elie Wiesel’s quote from your point of view as a young person coming of age in the twenty-first century. Do you agree or do you disagree?

Essay Guidelines:

Your essay must be 1,000 words or less. All essays should:

  • Be double-spaced
  • Have 1-inch margins
  • Include page numbers
  • Include an essay title
  • Be typed in 12 point font
  • Be in Microsoft Word-compatible format only. No zip files or Google documents are permitted. Any files received without a .doc or .docx extension will be deleted.

Submitting Details:

Financial aid and Award Money:

Winning essays will be posted on The National WWII Museum’s website, along with the names of the honorable mentions:

  1. Awards for High School Essay Contest
  • First place: $1,000
  • Second place: $750
  • Third place: $500
  1. Awards for Middle School Essay Contest
  • The Museum will select one winning essay from each grade. Winners will receive a $250 prize. Three honorable mentions from each grade will receive a Museum baseball cap.

Application Deadline:

Entries must be submitted via the website by December 2, 2016, 5:00pm Central Time.

Link for More Information:

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