Youth Story Contest

2020 Theme Coming Soon!

See 2019 winners and finalists

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The ocean is beautiful. On a screen, lapping at Tacoma’s waterfront or crashing onto a beach, it’s full of wonder. Countless animals, underwater landscapes, light, color, sound. Here in Tacoma, we’re incredibly lucky to have the ocean at our doorstep: the Salish Sea (Puget Sound), misty, cold and beautiful.

But the ocean is also changing – and threatened. Plastic trash fills the bellies of sea animals.  Chemicals pollute. Corals die from climate change, fed by fossil fuels. Orcas are critically endangered from lack of food, pollutants and ship noise.

Why should we care? We need the ocean for oxygen, water, weather, food – for our lives and for our future. We need to protect it.

How is your life connected to the ocean? How will it – should it – change our future?

Tell your ocean story in poetry, film or graph for Tacoma Ocean Fest 2020.

Categories (apply in one, two or all):

– Poetry (500 words or less)
– Film (3 minutes or less)
– Graph (one or more graphs)

Divisions (only apply in one):

– High school
– Middle school


ALL VALID ENTRIES: Free personal pizza coupon from Round Table Pizza

ALL FINALISTS: Invitation to an evening boat cruise with Sea Scouts/Youth Marine Center
PLUS: Reading/screening work live at Tacoma Ocean Fest on June 7,2020, and published on

PRIZE WINNERS will be announced live at Ocean Fest.

GRAND PRIZE (all categories): High school $150; middle school $100
PLUS: VIP pass to Tacoma Film Festival and 1-year youth membership to The Grand Cinema

SECOND PLACE (all categories): High school $100; middle school $50.
PLUS: 1-year youth membership to The Grand Cinema

THIRD PLACE (all categories): High school $50, middle school $30
PLUS: Two free tickets to The Grand Cinema

What’s the deadline?

Submissions to the 2019 Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest open 12 a.m. February 1, 2019 and close 11 p.m. April 15, 2020. No late submissions will be accepted.

Who is eligible?

Middle and high school students who live in the Tacoma, WA school district or who attend Tacoma Public Schools or Chief Leschi Schools are eligible to participate. (Includes private, public and homeschoolers.)

What else do I need to know?

Glad you asked!
First, read the FAQ and Submission Rules.

Then, check out our Resources page. You’ll find free workshops for filmmaking and poetry, good websites, data sources, inspiring Tacoma ocean locations and more.


Thanks to our generous sponsors! Lead sponsor:

Rotary Sunrise Club of Tacoma

Extra volunteer support from Rotary 8, Tacoma South Rotary, and Rotary Passport Club of Pierce County – thank you!

With prizes donated by:

grand_logo_red1 Round-Table-Logo-400x300Sea Scouts logo

and with help from:

TPL TSD-color-vector logo   TAM logo  waka