Student Contest

Student Voices Award

Show us your creative spirit! Sandy Hook Promise wants to hear from student voices across the country as they participate in Start With Hello Week! Submit your original writing, artwork, and musical performances for a chance to win $100 prize, recognition on Sandy Hook Promise’s website, and sharing of your original work on Sandy Hook Promise’s social channels. Your art, essays, poems, and performances should be inspired by the Start With Hello message of reaching to out to help others in order to build socially inclusive and connected communities.

Lifting Up Youth Voices

We want youth voices and ideas to be heard in creating more caring and inclusive environments. By thinking critically and expressing yourselves on issues related to promoting inclusiveness and kindness, you can prevent violence, bullying and self-harm.

The main teachings and messages of the Start With Hello program are empowering students to:
1. Reduce social isolation;
2. Build inclusive and connected school communities; and
3. Prevent violence.

Eligibility And Categories

Students, educators, and SAVE Promise Clubs in grades 2-12 may submit original student work in the following categories:

• Written: Students are invited to submit essays, poems, or other creative writing pieces. Teachers or SAVE Promise Clubs are welcome to submit their top three winning entries from a school-based contest. Please limit submissions to 500 words or fewer. Use the theme as the inspiration.
• Spoken: Video entry utilizing spoken word, poetry, rap, song, or skit. The video can be from an individual student or a group video: a classroom, SAVE Promise Club, or theater group. Please limit video to 2 minutes 20 seconds or less.
• Visual: A photo, digital image, picture of a mural or art installation, or poster.

How to Enter:

Share your submission with us on Twitter from September 7 – October 15, 2021! Post a tweet and include:
• Student’s first name and last initial, grade, school name, city and state
• Tags using @sandyhook #StartWithHelloStudentVoices
• Photo of the creative work (art or written) or Video upload (2 minutes 20 seconds max length)

John D.
7th Grade
Newtown Middle School
Newtown, Connecticut
@sandyhook #StartWithHelloStudentVoices

Don’t have a Twitter account? It’s free and easy to sign up! Create a profile and don’t forget to follow us @sandyhook!


Submit the original work online or mail to Start With Hello Contest, c/o Sandy Hook Promise, PO Box 3489, Newtown, CT 06470.


Students submit original work that has been reviewed by an educator at their school as outlined above. Entries will be judged by a committee. A detailed breakdown of the criteria is available on this rubric.


At least three winners from each category and grade division will be selected.
Grade Divisions for Judging: Elementary (2-5); Middle (6-8); High School (9-12)
• Nominations are open from 9/7/21 – 10/15/21
• The winners will be announced on 11/19/21

Winners Will Receive:

  • Prizes include $100 and recognition on Sandy Hook Promise’s web page and social channels.
  • In addition to monetary awards, winning entries will be on display at the SAVE Promise Club Youth Summit. Some entries will also be used in Sandy Hook Promise’s promotional material.

Contest Details

The 2021 Start With Hello Week Student Voices Contest is organized by Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. We are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and 6 educators. SHP is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) by educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that creates a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. For more information, visit

All submissions become the sole property of Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook Promise reserves the right to use entries in the service of Sandy Hook Promise’s mission including but not limited to exhibiting, publishing, sharing on social media, and reprinting permissions in part or in whole. For more information, please email [email protected] or visit