Essay Contest 2015-2016

Grades 9-12 Ashland and Richland County High School Students 

Sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence

Peace doesn’t mean avoiding conflict, but finding nonviolent ways of fostering understanding and cooperation. When conflicts arise between people—in families, in communities or between cultures and nations—it can be easy to assume that violence is the solution. Being committed to working at peaceful solutions means getting creative with alternatives!

The contest theme is “Resolving Conflict in Today’s World”

Think of an example of a conflict you know about in your community or elsewhere. Begin your essay of no more than 1,000 words by briefly describing the conflict. In the body of your essay, suggest a nonviolent strategy that could be implemented to address the concerns, reduce the tensions and contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Be specific about the steps you think would be necessary to make your idea work. In your conclusion, explain how peacefully resolving local and regional conflicts can contribute to a more just and peaceful world.


  • The contest is open to high school students in Ashland and Richland counties (students from private and public schools, as well as homeschooled students in grades 9-12).
  • ACN Steering Committee members and their relatives are ineligible.


  • Only one essay submission per student.
  • Essay should be no more than 1,000 words in length.
  • Essay must reflect your original thoughts. We encourage you to discuss the essay topic with teachers, parents, friends and other mentors. However, you must write the essay yourself in your own words.
  • Essay must cite and document any sources used.
  • Submitted essays become the property of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence (ACN). By submitting your essay, you are allowing ACN to use and publish your work—in whole or in part—along with essayist names and/or pictures.
  • Hint: Don’t feel that you need to solve the world’s big violent conflicts (Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, etc). There are many different kinds of conflict and you might find that writing about one closer to home allows you to offer something especially creative and unique.


Submissions should be done through our online form here.


Essays will be judged based on clarity of focus, quality of analysis, originality, compelling and engaging voice, style and mechanics with emphasis on the content and creativity of the ideas expressed.


Entries must be received by 4pm on December 4, 2015.


Prizes will be awarded for the best essay in each grade:

9th grade:  

Certificate and prize of $75

10th grade:

Certificate and prize of $75

11th grade:

Certificate and prize of $75

12th grade:

Certificate and prize of $75

Honorable Mention:

Certificate and special gift


* Prize winners will be recognized at the Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration at Ashland University in the University Chapel on Monday, January 18 at 7 p.m.

For inquiries, please contact

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*PRIVACY POLICY: The personal information provided with contest entries is used only for communication regarding the contest and other related ACN events. Your personal contact information is not shared with any organization outside ACN.


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