Sanders launches 10th annual State of the Union essay contest

REGION – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has launched his 10th annual State of the Union essay contest.

Each January, the President of the United States delivers the State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress, which outlines priorities for the coming year. Because Sen. Sanders knows that great ideas come from every corner of our country, he created the State of the Union Essay Contest for Vermont high school students to describe a major issue facing our country and propose what they would do to solve that problem.

The 250-500 word essays can be on any issue of national importance. A volunteer panel of Vermont teachers will judge the essays on the students’ ability to articulate an issue and propose a solution, without regard to the students’ political views.

Sanders will enter the essays of the 10 finalists into the Congressional Record – the official archive of the U.S. Congress. He will also invite the 10 finalists to be interviewed about their essay topic so their voices and perspectives can be included in his official videos and social media.

“I started this essay contest 10 years ago to help our students be actively engaged, no matter where they stand on the issues,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. “We need our students to help find solutions for the problems that face our country as they are our future leaders.”

More than 4,000 students from high schools throughout Vermont have written essays in the past nine years about critically important issues, including climate change, access to mental health care, the rising cost of college, and much, much more. Last year, Firdaus Muhammad from Winooski High School was selected as the winner from 590 submissions for her essay on Islamophobia.

The deadline for student essay submissions is Jan. 8, 2020. More information can be found on Sanders’ Senate webpage at or by calling 800-339-9834.

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