Youth Story Contest

2020 winners announced!

kids doing poetry

Congratulations to all our finalists and winners, who received awards in a private Zoom ceremony Sept. 12 due to COVID-19. Find their work here.

2020 Theme: We Are Ocean

The ocean is beautiful. Astonishing animals, wondrous underwater worlds, light, color, sound. And it’s right here on our doorstep: the misty, cold Salish Sea (Puget Sound).

But the ocean is also threatened. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  Chemicals pollute and destroy. Climate change, fed by fossil fuels, heats and acidifies, killing kelp and coral. Orcas, salmon, sharks and other species are endangered.

Why should we care? Every other breath is made by the ocean. We need it for water, weather, food, life.  We are all part of the same ecosystem.

It may seem weird or difficult to create a poem, film or data graph about the ocean when humanity is going through this devastating health crisis.

BUT – at Ocean Fest we believe that the health of humanity and the health of the planet are deeply connected. What happens to our Earth, and our ocean, happens to us. We ARE ocean. It is a perfect time to think creatively about how we can make a better future. You can do it!

We are ocean.

Tell your ocean story in poetry, film or graph.

Submissions now closed for 2020.

girl with phone

Categories (apply in one, two or all):
– Poetry (500 words or less)
– Film (3 minutes or less)
– Graph (one or more graphs)

boy writing

Divisions (only apply in one):
– High school
– Middle school

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


ALL ENTRIES: A personal pizza coupon (this will be mailed to you)

ALL FINALISTS: Reading/screening work live at Tacoma Ocean Fest and online. Other prizes tbd.

PRIZE WINNERS will be announced live at Ocean Fest, Sept. 13.

GRAND PRIZE (all categories): High school $150; middle school $100

SECOND PLACE (all categories): High school $100; middle school $50.

THIRD PLACE (all categories): High school $50, middle school $30

Rules & FAQ: Read them here

Story Resources: Free workshops, classes, events, links and more. Online workshops on now!

Past finalists and winners: poems, films, graphs.

Lead sponsor:

Rotary Sunrise Club of Tacoma

With support from Rotary 8 – thank you!

Other sponsors and partners: