Sanders launches State of Union essay contest

Bernie Sanders

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

Sanders’ annual essay contest is an opportunity for Vermont high school students to articulate what issues they would prioritize if they were president. The 250-500 word essays can be on any issue of national importance.

A panel of Vermont teachers will judge the essays and select a winner. Essays are judged on the students’ ideas and arguments.

The finalists will have their essays entered into the Congressional Record — the official archive of the United States 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 nation needs to go,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate Education Committee. “We need our students to be engaged, to help find solutions for the problems that face our country. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Since the contest’s inception, about 3,000 students from schools throughout Vermont have written essays on a wide range of issues, including the declining middle class, climate change, health care, the national debt and the rising cost of a college education.

The deadline for student essay submissions is Jan. 10. More information can be found on Sanders’ Senate webpage at, by calling (800) 339-9834 or emailing