Announcing MIDTESOL 2017 Student Essay Awards

Announcing MIDTESOL 2017 Student Essay Awards

MIDTESOL is pleased to invite teachers to announce and submit student essays for the Best K-12 ESL Student Essay Award and Best ESL Student Award. Topics reflect this year’s conference theme: Crossroads of Cultures.


Best K-12 Essay Award – The student must be a K-12 school student in good standing who is enrolled—or was enrolled formerly—in an ESOL/ELL program in a K-12 school in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, or Nebraska.

Best ESL Student Essay Award – The student must be an adult ESL learner enrolled in a higher education ESL/EAP program, intensive English program, or adult education program in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, or Nebraska.

Essay Topic

Choose one of the following topics related to this year’s MIDTESOL Conference theme of Crossroads of Cultures.

1. Compare and contrast an aspect of your culture to that of the United States. It may include a tradition, value, or even communication style. In which ways is it similar and different to how people practice it here? Perhaps add how or why is it valuable to people. Provide explanations and examples.

2. Describe a gathering or event in which a diverse group of people, a “crossroads of cultures”, was present. What was the event? How did the mix of people benefit the event? What did everyone learn about and from each other?

3. Narrate an example of a misunderstanding due to a cultural difference in language, value, or even nonverbal communication. What happened? What were the intentions of the people involved? How was it resolved? What did you learn from this experience?

Rules and Format

Each student may submit only one essay and must be an ELL/ESL student in good academic standing who is enrolled in an ESOL/ELL/ESL program in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, or Missouri.

The essay must be submitted with a cover page, including the following

  • student name and contact information (phone number, address, email)
  • school (name, address, phone number)
  • grade level, for High School Essay Award
  • sponsoring teacher and teacher’s phone number, address, and email address.

The essay must be solely the work of the student with limited guidance from others.

The essay must be 500 to 700 words in length; typed (12-point Times New Roman font) and double-spaced.

There should be no identifying information listed on any pages of the essay, just the cover page. This includes any mention of name or school.

Failure to abide by any of the above conditions will result in immediate disqualification.


Essays undergo blind peer review.

Scoring Criteria: Essays are scored on ideas/content, organization, conventions, voice, sentence fluency, and word choice/voice. In short, judges look for writing that is clear, creative, articulate, and logically organized.


The selected recipient of each contest will be awarded $100. His/her name, photo, and school affiliation will be published in the ensuing issue of MIDTESOL Matters, the organization’s electronic newsletter. Additional awards include one (1) second place award of $50 and one (1) third place award of $25.

How to Apply: To apply, submit essay, including cover page, to Denise Mussman (, MIDTESOL Awards Chair, by April 27, 2017. The subject line of the email should read “MIDTESOL 2017: Best Essay Award.” You will receive confirmation from the Awards Chair that your submission has been received and a notification if you are an award recipient in early May. All applicant information will be keptconfidential. Decisions made by reviewers are final.

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