Call for Submissions:

2020 NYS TESOL Student Project Contest

Call for Reviewers : 2020 NYS TESOL Student Projects Contest

This year’s theme has not been revealed. 

Stay tuned! 

Submission Guidelines:

Contestants can choose to enter in one of the following two categories. Two winners will be selected from each category. Notice that each category is defined by separate guidelines and rubrics. No double entries are allowed.

1. Essay: a piece of writing written from an author's personal point of view that analyzes and evaluates an issue or a topic. Possible types include: personal essay, narrative essay, persuasive essay, etc. Please respond in an essay of 250 words or fewer (grades 4-5; 6-8), or 500 words or fewer (grades 9-12; university and adult education).

View the scoring rubric here.

2. Digital Storytelling: broadly defined as the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including but not being limited to graphics, images, photos, audio, video etc.

·      The presentation should be no longer than five minutes in length

·      If a photograph/image is taken from the Internet it must be cited properly

·      The first slide/frame of the story should include the title, student(s) first name and the name of their school.


View the scoring rubric here.

All submissions must be the original work of the contestant, unpublished or not accepted for publication.

Submission can have more than one author and any prizes awarded will be split evenly between or among the authors.

Please include with each submission the contest category, the student's name, grade level, teacher's name, school's name and contact information. Please ensure that the contact information will be valid over the summer of 2020.


The Student Project Contest is open to any current or former English language learner in the following categories:

Students in grades 4-5

Students in grades 6-8

Students in grades 9-12

Students in university and adult education programs

Winners will be honored at the NYS TESOL 50th Annual Conference. 

Winners from Past Years

14th Annual, 2019

Prompt: Who or what has inspired you on your journey to success?

13th Annual, 2018

Prompt: A cultural experience that influenced my life.

12th Annual, 2017

Theme: Advocacy Advocacy (noun) – public support for a course of action or way of doing things 

Advocate (verb) – to express support for a particular idea or way of doing things

11th Annual, 2016

Theme:“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much”

-Helen Keller (1880-1968)

10th Annual, 2015
Theme: "Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn't help us know what to say."
--Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (1948-)

9th Annual, 2014
Theme: "A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special." --Nelson Mandela

8th Annual, 2013
Theme: "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Gandhi

7th Annual, 2012
Theme: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt

6th Annual, 2011
Theme: How has your community helped you learn English?

5th Annual, 2010
Theme: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

4th Annual, 2009
Theme: What aspects of American culture do you find to be different from your culture?

3rd Annual, 2008
Theme: What aspects of American culture do you find to be different from your culture?

2nd Annual, 2007
Theme: My Growth as an English Language Learner

1st Annual, 2006
Theme: A famous Chinese Proverb states, “A teacher can open the door, but the student must enter on their own.” How does this quotation illustrate your experience learning English?