Student Voices Contest

When we reach out to those that are feeling left out, lonely or being treated as invisible, it is just the beginning.

Take part in our Start With Hello Week Student Voices Contest and help show the world the difference you make in your life and the lives of others. The contest will promote young people’s efforts to reduce social isolation, build community and inclusion, and prevent violence before it happens through the arts.

With a submission deadline of February 16, 2018, youth will bring personal perspective and insight to the issue of reaching out to peers who feel alone or different or often not seen or heard by others. The winning entries in the categories of Written, Spoken and Visual will receive monetary awards and their entries will be on display at the SAVE Promise Club Youth Summit on April 21, 2018. Some entries will also be used in Sandy Hook Promise’s promotional material. In addition to the monetary award for students, the teacher or adult champion named in the contest submission will also receive a monetary award.

We want youth voices and ideas to be heard in creating more caring and inclusive environments. By thinking critically and expressing themselves on issues related to promoting inclusiveness and kindness, youth can prevent violence, bullying and self-harm. Creative expressions will foster critical thinking that leads to actions that can prevent gun violence – and other forms of violence and self-harm now and in generations to come.

Contest procedures:

Eligibility: Students in grades 2-12 may submit works. Each entry requires an online completed entry form. Youth may submit one entry per category. Each entry must fit into one category: written, spoken or visual.

  • Written: Essay – Please limit to less than 600 words. All essay entries should follow a paragraph format with complete sentences and should start with “Start With Hello is just the beginning.” Essays must be typed.
  • Spoken: Video entry utilizing spoken word/poetry/rap/song/skit. Please limit video to less than 5 minutes and upload to YouTube. Spoken entries should submit a YouTube link rather than uploading the video.
  • Visual: Poster Artwork must be two-dimensional and no larger than 10” X 10.” Please mail to Start With Hello Contest, c/o Sandy Hook Promise, PO Box 3489, Newton, CT 06470. Sidewalk art must be submitted via digital photo.

Grade Divisions for Judging: Elementary (2-5); Middle (6-8); High School (9-12)

Winners: At least three winners from each category and grade division will be selected.

Awards Per Grade Division: 1st place – $200; 2nd place – $100; 3rd place – $50.

In addition to monetary awards, winning entries will be on display at the Promise 2 Youth Summit on April 21, 2018. Some entries will also be used in Sandy Hook Promise’s promotional material.

In addition to the student monetary award, the teacher or adult advisor named in the Start With Hello Student Voices Contest will also receive $50.00.

The 2018 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 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 protect . children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit

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