Make sure you register before submitting a winner.

Please submit the winning poem, a student release form,
a headshot of the student, and a video of the student reading his or her poem to by
January 22, 2015.

The Poem

  • Must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document (with the file extension 
    of .doc or .docx). 
  • Must have a title.
  • Must be typed in Times New Roman, font size 12, on a letter size page
    with 1" margins.
  • The document must include the following at the top left of the first page:
    full student name, full school name, and teacher or school name and
    phone number.
  • Artwork and graphics should not appear on the document.

The Form

The parents of all winners must fill out a student release form.
You can find the form here.

The Headshot

Taking the Photo

  • School portraits work well.
  • Student should be looking straight at the camera.
  • The photo should be oriented vertically.
  • The photo should include the head and shoulders of the student, with a bit of room above the head and below the shoulders.
  • Have the student in front of a plain background, such as a brick wall or a colored wall. Have the student stand a few feet away from the background.
  • Avoid cluttered areas, distracting patterns, and white walls. Try to keep door jambs, light switches, etc. out of the background.

Submitting the Photo

  • Submit the photo as a jpeg.
  • Save the photo with the student's name.
  • Larger file sizes are preferred, because they have better resolution
    (1MB is preferred to 60kb)
  • If scanning in a photo, try to make it at least 600 dpi.

The Video

Preparing to Shoot the Video

  • Have the student practice reciting the introduction and the before filming.
  • The introduction should include, in order,  the student's first name (no last name), the full name of the school, the country and state where the school is located, and the title of their poem.
  • Encourage the student to enunciate, speaking loudly and clearly.
  • Ideally the student will (nearly) memorize their poem, so it does not look like he or she is reading. Memorization is not required, so you can position flash cards near the camera that the student can read from while looking into the camera. You can also have the student reference their poem from one, full-sized page.
  • Try to have the student look enthusiastic, or, at least, not bored.

Shooting the Video

  • If possible, use a video camera, digital camera, or cell phone.
    Webcams are not preferred.
  • Keep the camera steady, and use a tripod if possible.
  • Allow some room above the student's head in the shot. Show the student's head and shoulders. Waist-high shots are acceptable.
  • Shoot in a well-lit room.
  • Avoid shooting in front of bright objects, or having a light source behind the student. The student should be brighter than the background.
  • The background should be plain and not distracting.

  • Avoid background noises, such as loud air conditioning.

  • Have the student recite the introduction, pause, then recite the poem.
  • Do a couple of takes and pick your favorite one.

Submitting the Video

  • Preferred file formats are avi, .mov, and .mp4.  These are standard extensions you will get if you record with a webcam on a Windows or Mac computer. 
  • Shoot in HD, or the highest resolution possible.
  • Videos should be 16 x 9 or letterbox.  Frame sizes are 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 (Last resort is to use 640 x 360)  
  • Save the file with the student’s full name. (for example, “Henry Ford”)