The FAQ: 2018 Writing & Art Challenge

Important Tips to Consider

Make sure you are familiar with all the rules of the 2018 Writing and Art Challenge. Make sure that your entry addresses the assigned prompt.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute — don’t be disqualified because of computer failure, snow storms or other reasons that might prevent you from winning!
  • At the judges’ discretion, Runner-Up prizes of $100 may be awarded in any category.

For best results use our ONLINE ENTRY FORM. The deadline is March 5th, 2018 Activate notifications on our Facebook Page to keep up to date on the progress of the Challenge (there is a drop down option to receive notifications in the box where you “like” the page).

Have a question that is not answered below? Contact us at

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to enter the Writing Challenge in order to be eligible to enter the Art Challenge?

No! You may enter the Writing Challenge OR the Art Challenge OR both — it’s up to you!

Will my Writing and Art entries be judged separately?

Yes, by different judging panels. All entries are judged anonymously.

Can I win both the Writing Challenge and the Art Challenge?

Yes! It happened last year! One student won a prize in both categories!

Can I consult with my writing and art teachers on my entries?

Absolutely! We hope that you consult with teachers and mentors, seek advice, and incorporate their suggestions into your work. Your entry, however, must be 100% your own work product. By entering the challenge, you are certifying that the entry is 100% your work.

Can I submit a painting rather than a drawing?

YES! Entries will be judged on relevance, talent and concept rather than the materials used to create them. Look at last year’s winners to get an idea of the broad range of entries!

What makes a poem great?

There is no secret formula to creating a great poem. Make sure you read our interview with Writing Judge Peter Balakian: Peter is a best selling author and poet and in the interview he describes what he looks for in a poem.

What category should I enter?

The Writing and Art Challenges both range from Grade 5 through Young Adults (through age 24). There are three categories for the Writing Challenge and two age categories for the Art Challenge.

I am from Pine Ridge but I attend a High School or College off the Reservation. Can I enter the Challenge?

Yes, as long as you can establish to the satisfaction of LCE’s judges that you are Lakota, a full-time student, a resident of Pine Ridge and that you meet the age or grade criteria of one of the categories.

I am in Elementary School, may I enter?

Maybe! The Middle School category of the Writing Challenge includes 5th graders this year!
Although we do not offer monetary prizes for elementary school students below the 5th grade level, we will accept entries from younger students and we will forward those entries to the judges for their review. Everyone who enters will receive a Certificate of Achievement and will be invited to attend the awards ceremonies in the Spring of 2018. Make sure you have your parent’s or a guardian’s consent to enter.

How will I know if I have won?

You will be notified by email by March 31, 2018, so make sure that when you enter, you provide us with all required information!

What information must be included with my entry?

If you enter using our ONLINE ENTRY FORM, you can’t really mess this up! If you enter by email to, then you must include with your entry:

  • your name– and include in the email’s topic line “2018 ENTRY”
  • email and phone contacts for YOU and a parent/guardian who has consented to the contest terms if you are under age 18
  • Multiple ways for us to contact you. If we do not hear back from you or your contact, then we may award your prize to someone else.
  • VIDEO entries should include a LINK to where we can view the video; ART entries should include a photograph or digital slide of your entry.

The Writing Challenge has multiple ways to enter (letter, poem, essay, spoken word video or audio file). Is there a preferred method of entry?

 No. Each entry will be judged separately and those with the highest scores will be named winners. If you enter with a spoken word entry, then you must provide a transcript of your entry and either submit a link to a video or attach an audio file.

May I include the Lakota language in my entry or art work?

Yes, but you must provide the judges with a translation of the Lakota words used in your entry.

I am a teacher and want to make this a class project. Can you send me hard copies of the flyer?

Yes! Send us an email at and we will send you as many copies as you need. Please make sure to include your mailing address in the request and tell us how many copies you would like to have.

I don’t have a computer, will you accept my entry by mail?

No. Please ask your teachers, school administrators or neighbors to help you submit your electronic entry.  LCE is not responsible for misdirected mail or email but will acknowledge receipt of all entries within 48 hours. Please make sure that you provide active contact information so that we can reach you. You can access an ONLINE ENTRY FORM HERE or you can email your entry to The entry must be submitted by 11:59PM on February 15, 2018.

I never win anything, why should I put myself out there on this one?

We believe in the power of youth, we believe that you see things differently than adults, we believe that your voices should be heard and that your messages should be celebrated. Go for it — you might surprise yourself!  We will celebrate all entries at Awards Ceremonies and all entrants will win a Certificate of Achievement!

Where and when will Award Ceremonies take place?

Award Ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for April -May 2018, at either the schools of the grand prize winners or at a local restaurant (more details to come soon)!

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