Deadline approaches for Sanders’ student essay contest

Last month, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his seventh annual State of the Union essay contest, calling on Vermont’s high school students to address what they view as the major issues facing the United States.

Last year, nearly 800 students from 39 Vermont high schools wrote essays detailing their own views of the “state of the union.”

The U.S. Constitution calls for the president to “give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

In this essay contest, Sanders asks Vermont’s high-school students to elaborate on their own views of the state of the union, in an essay of 250 to 500 words.

A panel of Vermont teachers judges the essays and selects one winner. The finalists will have their essays entered into the Congressional Record — the official archive of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Sanders will also hold a roundtable discussion with the finalists.

“Our students are the future of our country — and they must be involved in the discussion about where our country needs to go. This is a great opportunity for students to articulate their views and concerns,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee.

Since Sanders’ State of the Union essay contest was first held in 2009, roughly 2,400 students from schools throughout the state have written essays on topics such as the declining middle class, climate change, health care reform, the rising cost of a college education and many other issues.

The deadline for student essay submissions is Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. More information can be found on the senator’s webpage at or by calling (800) 339-9834.