2021 Contest winners are:

  • Grand Prize, Mayra Cristobal – Alamosa High School – Creative Nonfiction – “The Unique San Luis Valley”
  • 1st Prize, Aden Howell – Del Norte High School – Poem – “A Sorrowful Ghazal”
  • 2nd Prize, Keaton Gregg – Monte Vista High School – Poem – “Fair”
  • 3rd Prize, Lexi Maez – Antonito High School – Fiction – “Anger”

Join us to celebrate their fine work at a public event at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 19 in the Xperimental Theatre on the Adams State Campus. For more information, contact Michelle Le Blanc at mleblanc@adams.edu

Welcome to Adams State University’s first-ever High School Writing and Digital Media Contest. We’re eager to see what students across the region are thinking, writing, and creating. In addition to earning valuable Adams State scholarships, you can also see your work published in Adams State’s literary journal, The Sandhill Review. Take a look at the guidelines below, contact us if you have any questions, and submit your work. We’re ready to read and watch.


  • Overcoming obstacles
  • The Unique San Luis Valley


  • Published in The Sandhill Review, Adams State’s literary journal
  • Invited to read or present their work at a public celebration at Adams State University
  • Grand Prize – overall winner – $1,000 Adams State Scholarship
  • 1st Prize x 5 – $500 Adams State Scholarship
  • 2nd Prize x 5 – $250 Adams State Scholarship
  • 3rd Prize x 5 – $100 Adams State Scholarship


  • English, Communications, and Media Faculty
  • Creative Writing students
  • Literary criticism students
  • Communications and Media students


Deadline is extended to midnight, Nov. 1, 2021. If you still have questions, email Michelle Le Blanc, MFA, at mleblanc@adams.edu.

Contest Rules and Entry Form


  1. Students must be high school juniors or seniors to enter
  2. Only one entry per student per category; students may not win or place in more than one category
  3. High school teachers must sign the student’s entry form
  4. No entries accepted past the deadline
  5. Free of plagiarism
  6. Must run a spelling and grammar check before submitting
  7. Submit fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and literary analysis in a Microsoft Word file with a cover page that includes name, grade, word count, title of work
  8. Submit Digital Visual Narrative in one of these file formats: AVI, MP4, MOV, WMV or as a link to a streaming video platform.



  • 750-1000 words
  • A fictional narrative with believable, round characters
  • Strong setting of a specific time and place
  • Protagonist/POV character should have an emotional reaction to conflict, rising action, resolution
  • Point of View (POV)–1st (I, me, we, us) or 3rd (he, she, it, they) person
  • Includes a scene of action with dialogue
  • Employs figurative language, metaphor, images


  • Using the poetic form of the ghazal, write a poem featuring the poetic elements, at least 5 sets of couplets that repeat the last word of the second line in the couplet, in iambic pentameter –da Dum, da Dum, da Dum, da Dum, da Dum
  • Line, rhythm, diction, figurative language
  • Believable speaker/narrative persona and point of view

Creative Nonfiction

  • 750-1000 words
  • Establish a believable (real) narrative persona (storyteller) who must deal with either internal or external conflict that reveals a believable change of persona from beginning to end
  • 1st person point of view –I, me, we, us, names of people
  • Based on true events in writer’s life with clear time and setting
  • Employs figurative language, metaphor, images, dialogue

Visual Digital Narrative

  • 4-5 minutes
  • Edited video, animation or filmed live performance
  • Logical or intuitive sequence of visuals or images
  • Narrative to consider thoughtful use of several or all of the following: characters, dialogue, conflict, climax, exposition, plot, resolution, genre, humor or drama
  • May include original material or an adaptation of an existing text
  • Acceptable video file formats include AVI, MP4, MOV, WMV or as a link to a streaming video platform.

Literary Criticism and Analysis

  • 750-1000 words plus a works cited page
  • Argumentative thesis that presents your perspective on the text you chose to analyze; this is not a summary or a re-use of other scholars’ work.
  • Support your thesis with documented evidence such as quotations, analysis, interpretation, and evidence from secondary sources that is scholarly, cultural, historical, biographical.
  • Clear and logical structure and organization to best present and support your analysis. Keep paragraphs focused and use transitions and topic sentences to highlight the paragraph’s relationship to your thesis and the previous and following paragraphs.
  • Cite your primary and secondary sources using MLA (Modern Language Association) style and include in-text citations and a works cited page.
  • Communicate clearly, observing the conventions of academic writing.
For rubrics and more information email Michelle Le Blanc at mleblanc@adams.edu or leave a message at 719-587-7386.