Armenian Genocide Essay Contest 2013

Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian and Senator Scott Wilk are holding two scholarship contests for the 2017 California Armenian Legislative Caucus’ commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. California high school students in 9th through 12th grade are invited to participate in an essay contest and/or a visual arts contest to increase greater awareness of the Armenian Genocide on its anniversary. The visual arts scholarship is a joint venture between the California Armenian Legislative Caucus and the California Arts Council.

All winners will be contacted directly and announced to mainstream and Armenian media by the California Armenian Legislative Caucus on Monday, April 10, 2017. All winners will be awarded scholarships and acknowledged at the California Armenian Legislative Caucus’ annual Armenian Advocacy Day during a press conference on April 17, 2017 and receive special recognition from the Assemblymember and Senator. Original artwork will be requested from visual arts applicants if they are selected as a finalist, for display in the California State Capitol.

Criteria for each contest are detailed below. Students may enter both contests, but submissions must be entered separately.

Essay Scholarship Awards:

First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $300

Visual Art Scholarship Awards:

First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $300

Submission Deadline for both contests is Friday, March 24, 2017.

For Historical Context for Both Contests


A Brief History of the Armenian Genocide:


New York Times –“Allies Punish Turks Who Murder” May 24, 1915

New York Times – “Armenians Dying In Prison Camps” August 21, 1916

Essay Criteria:

This year's writing prompt will call upon students to assume that:

  1. They have been hired to work for a still-to-be-constructed Armenian American National Museum, with the museum to be located in Glendale, California.
  1. They have received word from the museum director that one wing of the museum will be entitled Notable Armenian Americans.
  1. They are to share with the director, in the form of an "internal memo", one name that should be featured in this wing of the museum and the reason(s) that this name should so be featured.

The students' "internal memo" should be written using the template below (and accompanying instructions):

Internal Memo

Proposed Museum Exhibit

To:         Director

             Armenian American National Museum

From:    [Insert name]    

             [Grade] / [School Name]

Re:        A Notable Armenian American

Recommendation for Proposed Museum Exhibit

Date:     [Insert date]



(Insert here the name of the person you are recommending. Yes, it can be a relative or someone you know. It can also be someone you have only recently learned about.)


(Insert here a brief description of the life of the person you are recommending.)

FOCUSED SKETCH (500 words max)

(Insert here what you would want to have clearly presented in the exhibit about the person you are recommending. This is your chance to go into detail about this person, answering the question: What makes this Armenian American so notable?)


(Insert here what caused you to want to recommend this person? Are you related to this person? Have they accomplished something that you too wish to accomplish? Does this person have a personal story that you somehow connect to? Share something about you that helps the museum exhibit visitor better understand why you recommended this person to be featured in the exhibit.)

TAKE AWAY (50 words max)

(Insert here either a thought or a question that you want the public to have in mind after encountering your proposed portion of the exhibit. In other words, what do you want the public saying to itself when it learns about the person you are recommending?)

MISCELLANEOUS (50 words max)

(Insert here anything else you might like to add. This can include any photos, drawings, charts, book excerpts, etc., but no links to any video and/or audio clips or any webpages.)

Please include your name, age, address, high school, grade, teacher’s name and subject area, phone number, and email address at the top of the essay.

Please save submissions using your name as the document title and email as an attachment to Any submissions sent after the deadline will not be accepted.

Visual Art Criteria:

This year’s theme is “Human to Human Interaction.” All applicants must develop their submission in keeping with this theme.

  1. Personal statement (300 - 500 words) explaining the artwork and how it connects to the theme of human-to-human interaction. In the top left corner, applicant must include: name, age, primary address, high school, grade, teacher’s name and subject (if applicable), phone number, and email address (this information will not count as part of the total word count).
  2. Only two-dimensional, visual art submissions will be accepted. Submission types are limited to drawings, paintings, photographs, digital illustrations, and graphic design.
  3. Submissions may not exceed an 11x17 frame and must weigh less than 25 pounds.
  4. Submissions may not include any nudity, excessive and/or graphic violence, racial slurs, derogatory and/or offensive language, profanity, and may not make use of or replicate existing artwork. All submissions must be original work created by the applicant.

Submission Contents

  1. Email subject, as well as titles of the attached document, must be formatted as follows: “CALC – Student Name – Title of Piece” (e.g. CALC – William Saroyan – The Time of Your Life).
  2. Submissions must include the personal statement and meet the criteria listed.
  3. Submissions must include a high-definition photograph of the artwork, be sure to take a close up picture with enough lighting for the reviewers to see the detail of the work. It is acceptable to submit up to five photos. Be aware of the lighting of the piece and provide different angles to showcase the depth of the artwork.
  4. Submissions must include one recent high-definition photograph of the applicant, suitable for publication (e.g. cap and gown photos, professional headshots, or quality photographs/close-ups of the applicant).

Visual arts scholarship winners will be selected by representatives of the California Arts Council and the California Armenian Legislative Caucus.

All submissions must be received by the California Armenian Legislative Caucus electronically on or before the submission deadline at Any submissions sent after the deadline will not be accepted.


Each year the Armenian Education Center awards a scholarship to the winner of their essay contest. These essay questions help students to generate awareness and build a general understanding of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

The 2018 Scholarship information is now posted. Please download the individual files below.

Essay Cover Letter
Essay Question

Congratulations to the winner of the 2017 AEC Scholarship!

2017 Winner: Avery Naperala
        Honorable mention: James Caven

Past Winners of the AEC Scholarship

2016 Winner: Benjamin Comire, Bassett H.S., Bassett, VA
        Honorable mention: Kelly McHale, W.T. Woodson H.S., Fairfax, VA
        Honorable mention: Brooks Pollard, Turner Ashby H.S., Bridgewater, VA
2015 Winner: Katherine Katz, Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School, Arlington, VA
        Honorable mentions: Zach Schauffler, Jamestown High School, James City County, VA

2014 Winner: John Leahy
        Honorable mentions: Meagan Arnold; Hershel Holiday

2013 Winner: Claire Burke
        Honorable mentions: Sonia Blough; Philip Cragg; Audra J VanDerwerker

2012 Winner: Claire Tito
        Honorable mention: Sarah Stites

2011 Winner: Elisabeth Andrews
        Honorable Mention: Charlotte Hopkins

2010 Winner: Hira Palla
        Honorable Mention: Jerod Myers

2009 Winner: David Scurry
        Honorable Mention: Jennifer Morben

2008 Winner: June Song
        Honorable Mention: Christina Beasley

2007 Winner: Matthew Mason

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