Library of Virginia    Dominion
Strong Men & Women in Virginia History
2018 Student Writing Contest

Contest Overview

High school students in Virginia are invited to honor outstanding African Americans by participating in Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia’s Strong Men & Women in Virginia History student writing contest. Four winning essays will be chosen, one from each of the four regions in the state.


Mavis Claytor was accepted to the University of Virginia’s nursing program, but she was turned away from student housing because of her race. Undaunted, she continued her studies and in 1970 became the first African American to earn a nursing degree from U.Va. What obstacles have you faced when working toward your goals? How did you overcome them and persevere? What lessons did you learn and how can you share your experience to encourage others?

Contest Rules

  • Submit your 400-word essay online by midnight, Friday, November 17, 2017, for a chance to win an Apple MacBook Air and $1,000 for your school!
  • Each entrant must be a high school student at a public or private high school in Virginia. Homeschoolers also may apply; the $1,000 school award can be applied to a homeschooler association if the winner’s family has an active, dues-paying membership.
  • One winner will be selected from each of Virginia’s four regional service areas (Central, Eastern, Northern and Western).
  • All entries must be original works that have not been published or submitted for publication anywhere else.
  • Entries should not exceed 400 words.
  • Entries become the property of the Library of Virginia and will not be returned.
  • The Library of Virginia and Dominion Energy reserve the right to use the winners’ names and entries for promotional purposes in all forms of media without notice, review, approval or compensation, except where prohibited by law.


  • Deadline for entries is Friday, November 17, 2017, at midnight.
  • Winners will be notified by December 14, 2017.
  • Winning essays will be posted to both the Library of Virginia( and Dominion Energy (, keyword “strong”) websites by January 12, 2018.
  • The awards program will be held on Wednesday evening, February 7, 2018, in Richmond.


  • Winning students will receive an Apple MacBook Air.
  • Winning students’ schools will receive an award of $1,000.
  • Winning students and their school representatives MUST attend the ceremony to receive their awards.
  • Dominion Energy will provide overnight accommodations for out-of-town winners and their school representatives.

Judging Criteria


Reflection of careful and thorough thought


Prompt questions answered and main idea clearly articulated


Relevant, quality details about important thoughts and concepts


Essay flows well and shows good word choice and structure


Correct use of grammar, spelling and punctuation

The contest has ended!

Questions? Please call 804-692-3999 or e-mail