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First Prize:  $5000

Second Prize:  $2500

Third Prize:  $1500

This year’s theme:  “Persistence”

Deadline:  Monday, April 27, 2020


This Year’s Theme:  “Persistence”

In February of 2017, the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a meme and feminist rallying cry after Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the floor of the Senate by Mitch McConnell for objecting to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.  In particular, she was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King objecting to the appointment of Sessions as a judge many years earlier. McConnell cited a rule against “demeaning” a member of the Senate and tried to silence Warren.  As he put it, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

This year’s contest invites juniors and seniors at La Follette to address the theme of Persistence in 2,500 words or less.  Your prose piece may be an essay, a personal story, a fictional story, a biography, a speech, or a humor piece. You could write a true story about a person—someone famous, a friend or family member, even yourself—who persisted in their goals.  Maybe their persistence was of the Elizabeth Warren variety: standing up to authority and making their voice heard.  Maybe you are an artist, athlete, or musician who has had to work hard to succeed. Maybe your subject is a person who has had to overcome all sorts of odds and setbacks to meet their dreams.  Maybe their dreams haven’t been realized yet, but that hasn’t stopped them!  

The sponsors and judges of this year’s prize also encourage entrants to consider Fiction and Humor, even though this topic might not seem that funny on the surface.  


Guidelines and Specifics:

* Submissions are limited to 2,500 words (about ten pages, typed, double-spaced).

* Poetry, drama, artwork or other mixed media entries will not be considered.  This is a prose writing contest.  

*The entrant must be a Junior or Senior at La Follette High School.

* Submissions must be typed (double-spaced) and a paper copy must be turned in by the deadline, which is Monday, April 20th this year.

*  Submissions should be turned in to either Mr. McCuaig in B35 or Ms. Hornung in J4.

*  Students may only submit one piece of prose per year.  However, students can submit during both years of eligibility, even if they were a winner their Junior year.  

*  Submissions will be “judged blind,” meaning that the names will be removed from the entries before being given to the judges.  

*  There will be 3 judges:  Two judges will be La Follette English teachers and the third will be a writer/educator/professor from the community with no connection to La Follette.  

*  Awards are intended to be for college tuition or expenses, but that is up to the winners.  

*  The judges reserve the right to limit award money or to divide award money up differently depending on the strength or weakness of submissions.  

Some Background:

According to author and 1967 La Follette graduate David Benjamin, Bob Schuster (Class of ’66) was the “literary wellspring of La Follette High School.”  Before there was an official, school-sponsored literary magazine at our school, there was The Id, a typed-on-a-typewriter and printed-on-a-hectograph publication that sold for a quarter and approached about a hundred issues during its heyday.  

Bob Schuster died of leukemia in September of 2016 and his lifelong friend David Benjamin, along with Bob’s wife Kathy, has given a substantial endowment to La Follette High School in Bob’s honor to promote writing and to help talented Lancer writers earn money for college.  

Past Winners:

2018:  Majenta Stuntebeck (First Prize); Cammy Carver (Second Prize); Althea Anderson, Jennifer Little, Dija Manly, Madeline Zwergel (Honorable Mention)

2019: Abigail Rogers (First Prize); Grace Reynolds (Second Prize); Celia Ammeraal (Third Prize and Best Line); Mamie Beauchamp Blumke, Donald Conway, Chad Cumming (Honorable Mention) 

The Robert M. Schuster Short Prose Award

First Prize:  $5000

Second Prize:  $2500

Third Prize:  $1500

Deadline:  April 20, 2020 

This year’s theme:  



Juniors and Seniors:  This third annual writing award is for you!

Write a short story, essay, personal memoir, biography, speech or humor piece on the theme of “Persistence.”  We encourage you to interpret this theme as broadly as possible.  

Submissions can be up to 2,500 words (about 10 pages), must be typed, and must be prose.  No poetry or drama submissions.  

See Mr. McCuaig in B35 or Ms. Hornung in J4 for a complete list of rules and guidelines.