Youth Story Contest

Our Ocean, Our Lives, Our Future

The ocean is beautiful. Whether you see it on a screen, lapping at Tacoma’s waterfront or crashing onto a beach, it’s full of wonder and beauty. 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. Billions of pounds of plastic trash fill the bellies of marine animals.  Chemicals pollute the water from industry, homes and cars. Corals are dying from climate change, fed by fossil fuels. Puget Sound orcas are critically endangered from lack of food, pollutants and ship noise.

Why should we care? Because 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 2019.


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


  • Grand prize: High school $150; middle school $100 PLUS special item tba
  • Second place: High school $100; middle school $50 PLUS special item tba
  • Third place: High school $50, middle school $30 PLUS special item tba


  • All valid entries will receive a free personal pizza coupon from Round Table Pizza
  • All finalists will have their work published on
  • All finalists will read/screen/display their work at Tacoma Ocean Fest, June 9, 2019 at the Foss Waterway Seaport Maritime Museum
  • Winners will be announced and prizes presented live at Ocean Fest

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, 2019. 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.

How do I submit?

Submit entries on the Submission page!


Thanks to our generous sponsors!

Rotary Sunrise Club of Tacoma


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and with help from:

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