Category 1 (ages 7–10*)
Imagine that you are pen pals with someone who lives far, far away from you. This person has never seen your home or experienced the sounds, smells, people, and events that happen where you live. How would you describe your house, neighborhood, town, or city to them? Answer this question in an essay.
A good way to get ideas for this essay is to pretend you are a stranger where you live. A stranger would probably notice ordinary things that you take for granted every day!
Category 2 (ages 11–14*)
Imagine that you are a tour guide in your community. You get to pick three local sights or other noteworthy things to show to tourists. What do you choose? In an essay, explain why these three things are worthy of being included in your tour.
The first things you think of will probably be the popular, exciting places in your community, but don’t overlook things that are noteworthy in a different way. Finding the hidden treasures as well as the obvious will increase your appreciation for where you live.
Category 3 (ages 15–19*)
Imagine that you’re in a job interview and your interviewer asks this question to gain more insight about you: “How has the place (or places) where you’ve grown up impacted who you are?” Answer this question in an essay.
You might start by thinking about the people you’ve interacted with or have come to know in your community. Have you learned any lessons in your experiences with them? Do you think the outcome of those experiences might have been different in another location?
*All ages are as of September 1