Student Essay Challenge - 2022/2023
Announcing the Second Annual Student Essay Challenge of the 
Japanese American Citizens League - Arizona Chapter!

The purpose of the essay contest is to have students learn about their ancestry, heritage, and how the Japanese American Citizens League impacts their lives. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: a) high school (grades 9-12) and b) elementary/middle school (grades 4-8).

To be eligible for participation, the student must be a resident of Arizona and be affiliated (or have family members affiliated) with at least one of the following organizations: JACL-AZ Chapter, Arizona Buddhist Temple, Light and Life Church.


At the high school level, 3 prizes will be awarded:
First Prize: $500 
Second Prize: $300
Third Prize: $100

At the elementary/middle school level, 2 prizes will be awarded:
Grades 4-6: $100
Grades 7-8: $150


Grades 4-8: Share a story about your family history or the heroes in your life! What have you learned about your heritage and/or the legacy of Japanese Americans? 

Grades 9-12: Please choose ONE of the following prompts to respond to:

What does it mean to be an American? Visit the Norman Mineta Legacy Project at to learn about the life of the distinguished career of Mineta who became the first Asian American mayor of a major city (San Jose, CA), a U.S Congressman, and the first Asian American cabinet member, serving two Presidents, a Democrat and Republican. How does his story inspire you, encourage you to reflect on your JA heritage, and teach you about what it means to be an American?

How do you fight injustice? Visit the Korematsu Institute at to learn about the life of Fred Korematsu, who challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066. In what ways does Fred Korematsu's story relate to ways that you fight for social justice? What does Korematsu's story teach us about fighting injustice?

Requirements: Submitted essays must include a clear descriptive title, be double-spaced, in 12-point font and include a bibliography. Essays for grades 4-8 should be 500-800 words; essays for grades 9-12 should be 1000-1200 words. 

Go to: to apply and submit your essay

DEADLINE TO APPLY: February 3, 2023, 11:59 PM


Student Essay Challenge 
Entry Form
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Click here to complete the Student Essay Challenge Entry Form.

Please follow all instructions, complete the required information and submit all materials with your final essay no later than Feb. 3, 2023.
Why You Should Write an Essay