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 or spoken word performances for a chance to win a $100 prize and recognition by Sandy Hook Promise.

Click here to apply now!

Your art, essays, poems, and performances should be inspired by this year’s Start With Hello Week theme: How Start With Hello Builds Community and Breaks Barriers. The submissions should also show an appreciation for and understanding of the three steps of Start With Hello and how these simple, yet powerful steps create more caring and inclusive environments.

Eligibility: Creative expressions will be inspired by the theme: How Start With Hello Builds Community and Breaks Barriers. Students in grades 2-12 may submit original works in the following categories:

  • Written: Students are invited to submit essays, poems, or other creative writing pieces – Please limit to less than 500 words. Use the theme as the inspiration.
  • Spoken: Video entry utilizing spoken word/poetry/rap/song/skit. Please limit video to three minutes or less. and share a YouTube link.
  • Visual: Poster art (limit artwork to 10” X 10” or less) or sidewalk chalk, mural, or painting art (submit photo). Please mail to Start With Hello Contest, c/o Sandy Hook Promise, PO Box 3489, Newtown, CT 06470. Sidewalk chalk, mural, or paintings must be submitted via digital photo.


Students submit original work with the sign-off of an educator. All entries will be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on November 1, 2019 using this form. Entries will be judged by a committee on the criteria found on this rubric.

  • The original artwork is inspired by the theme: How Start With Hello Builds Community and Breaks Barriers
  • The original student work demonstrates a knowledge of the Start With Hello program
  • The original student work meets the eligibility requirement for each category: written, spoken, or visual.


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 9/3 – 11/1/2019 (deadline extended!).
  • The winners will be announced on 11/20/2019.

Winners will receive: 

  • Prizes include $100 and recognition
  • Free admission to the SAVE Youth Summit for 5 students and 2 educators
  • In addition to monetary awards, winning entries will be on display at the SAVE Promise Club Youth Summit.
  • Some entries will be used in Sandy Hook Promise's promotional material.

The 2019-20 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) BEFORE it happens.  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

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All submissions become the sole property of Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook Promise reserves the right to utilize 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 or visit