National Essay Contest 2024

  • Home
  • National Essay Contest 2024

The 2024 National Essay Contest has concluded. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified about next year’s event.

Congratulations to the Winners of the
2024 Make a Difference Essay Contest!


  • 1st Place: Aliana – San Diego, California

  • 2nd Place: Bella – Hermitage, Tennessee

  • 3rd Place: Amariah – Phoenix, Arizona

1st-2nd Grade:

  • 1st Place: Lianne – Floral Park, New York

  • 2nd Place: Adiel – Willcox, Arizona

  • 3rd Place: Sophie – Phoenix, Arizona

3rd-5th Grade:

  • 1st Place: Martina – New York, New York

  • 2nd Place: Brinley – Phoenix, Arizona

  • 3rd Place: Lucy – Phoenix, Arizona

6th-8th Grade:

  • 1st Place: Audrey – Ridgewood, New Jersey

  • 2nd Place: Karen – Chandler, Arizona

  • 3rd Place: Avik – Redmond, Washington

Thank you to all students who entered the 2024 BE KIND National Essay Contest!

Enter the Make a Difference Essay Contest

Annual Spring 2024 Contest Details

Open to Students K-8th Grade Nationwide


Kindness and thoughtfulness for others are values that are important for building character in our students while also creating a culture of kindness in our schools and communities. At The Be Kind People Project, we define kindness as intentionally extending good to others and we believe that everyone can make a difference.

The Be Kind Pledge lists 10 skills of intentional acts of kindness and when used as a habit can assist in making a lasting impact. Whether in school or online, ignite the power of kindness by allowing students to focus their attention and actions on making a difference through their relationships with others. Use this writing prompt to celebrate positive behavior, enhance the learning environment, and spark a culture of kindness in your schools, homes, and communities.


How I Can Make a Difference

Prompt: “This is how I can use the skills of The Be Kind Pledge in my community.”

Guiding Questions: While not required, you may use these additional questions and examples to inspire your submission.

  • How can I apply the skills of The Be Kind Pledge in my relationships with others at school, at home, in the community, and online?

  • Even when the world isn’t kind, how can I show resilience and initiate positive change?
  • How can my small, immediate acts of kindness make a long-term impact on those around me?
  • How can I make kindness a habit and intentionally choose to take kind actions?
  • How can I be considerate and make responsible decisions that positively affect those around me?
  • How can strengthening my body and mind help me build healthy and responsible habits?
  • How can I make a difference in my neighborhood by demonstrating empathy, inclusivity, respect, and kindness?


Each entry should be student-written and guided by grade-appropriate academic standards. The original writing should answer the question, “How can I make a difference?”, and be based on real actions of kindness relating to your own life and The Be Kind Pledge™.

For Kindergarten: A one-page picture or picture series accompanied by nicely hand-written sentences (recommended 1-3). View the Kindergarten grading rubric.

For grades 1-2: A one-page picture accompanied by nicely hand-written sentences (recommended 5-7). View the 1-2 grading rubric.

For grades 3-5: A written essay, maximum 1 page with approximately 2-3 paragraphs, typed double-spaced or printed legibly. View the 3-5 Grading Rubric.

For grades 6-8: A written essay, maximum 1 page with approximately 2-3 paragraphs, typed double-spaced or printed legibly. View the 6-8 Grading Rubric.

For students with disabilities: Students with disabilities are encouraged to participate in one of the following options based on their abilities and parent or teacher discretion: a one-page picture, a one-page hand-written or typed text submission, or a two-minute video for students who wish to speak instead of write. View the grading rubric and submission links for more information.

Selection Criteria

Each entry will be judged on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrates a sense of connection with the topic, answers the question, and includes a personal/emotional connection.
  • Focuses on and uses interesting details and creativity to support the topic.
  • Reads with cohesion and ideas flow throughout the piece.

  • Conveys vivid imagery through appropriate word choice or color story.
  • Uses age-appropriate sentence structure and grammar to support ideas.

Submission & Timing

Entries Due: Friday, March 15th, 2024
Winners Notified: April 22nd, 2024
Winners Publicly Announced: May 7th, 2024

  • Please use the following formula to label your essay document: Grade Group_Submission Type_Full Name_School.
    Submission type: individual or class submission

    Examples: 6-8_Individual Submission_David Smith_Jefferson Elementary or 3-5_Class Submission_Mrs. Jones_Northwest Elementary

  • The essay must include the student’s name and grade level. Please ensure this information is visible on the document and not just on the submission form or file name.

  • For class submissions, the teacher must also include a class roster with the parents’ names, phone numbers, and emails.
  • All entries must be uploaded by the student’s teacher, parent, or guardian and received by Friday, March 15th, 2024.

  • Upload entries using the following links OR mail entries to 731 Grand Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007.


Based on their submission, first, second, and third place winners will be selected in each of the following grade levels: Kindergarten 1st-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and Students with Disabilities. All winning students will receive BE KIND Swag, a BE KIND Make a Difference Essay Contest Certificate, and an invitation to join the BE KIND National Youth Leadership Board. All teachers of winning students will receive BE KIND classroom materials and free access to The Be Kind Break Premium online classroom resources for the 2024-2025 academic school year.

Winners will be notified on April 22nd, 2024, and first, second, and third-place winners will choose one of the following grand prize options. Specific product details and options (including model, color, brand, size, etc.) will be shared with parents and student winners.

Grand Prizes

First-place winners choose from:

Apple Watch  Electric Scooter  Karaoke Machine  |  Mountain Bike  |  Neon Name Sign

Second-place winners choose from:

Adidas Track Suit  Waterproof Speaker Converse or Nike ShoesBoardgame

Third-place winners choose from:

Wireless Earbuds  Science Kit Stanley Waterbottle Sports Ball of Your Choice

Past Make a Difference Essay Contest Winners




What Parents & Teachers Are Saying About the National Essay Contest

  • “This was the perfect way to motivate students to practice their writing skills before state testing.”
    6th Grade Teacher
  • “This has been such a positive experience, we are glad she gets to participate!”
    Parent of a Winner
  • “Thank you for sponsoring a contest about a topic that means so much to me. I am grateful for my students who also feel passionately about showing and spreading kindness.”
    6th Grade ELA Teacher
  • “We sure do appreciate everything we have learned this year from participating in The Be Kind People Project! And we appreciate everything y’all have done to put the project on and share such wonderful resources for building up our kids and communities!”
    2nd Grade Teacher

Questions? Comments?

Reach out to us! Email or call 602-559-9399.

Learn More about The Be Kind People Project®

Copyright © The Be Kind People Project    |    Privacy Policy