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Lesson Plan September 15, 2021

Local Letters for Global Change: A Pulitzer Center Writing Contest



Announcing the 2021 Pulitzer Center letter-writing contest!

K-12 students: Make your voice heard this fall by writing a letter to a local elected representative that explains the global issue you want them to prioritize, shows how it connects to your local community, and proposes a solution. Through this contest, students can practice persuasive writing, civic action, and global citizenship, all while exploring the underreported issues that matter to them through Pulitzer Center reporting.

The Pulitzer Center wants to read and share your letters: tell us, and the world, what's most important to you. Read on for contest details.


Any current K-12 student across the globe may enter. Letters may be written in English and/or Spanish. Students will be judged separately in high school, middle school, and elementary categories, using the same judging rubric.


We will select three first place winners, including one high school entry (grades 9-12), one middle school entry (grades 5-8), and one elementary entry (grades K-5). First place winners will receive:

  • $100 to support global community engagement in your classroom (prize distributed to your class teacher)
  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website

Additional finalists will be selected across all grade levels. Finalists will receive:

  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website


Saturday, November 13, 2021 11:59pm EST

Entry Guidelines:

1. Go to, or the "Suggested Stories" tab above, and choose a news story about a global issue that matters to you. When choosing your news story, consider: Why does this story matter to you? How is the issue it describes connected to your local community?

2. Write a one-page letter to an elected representative in your community that includes the following:

I.   Short summary of a global issue, citing a Pulitzer Center news story.
II.  Explanation of how this global issue connects to you and your community.
III. Suggestion of what action you would like your local representative to take to resolve this issue, or otherwise improve related conditions.

For support writing your letter, see the "Resources for Teachers and Students" tab above.

3. Enter using this Google form. It will request some basic personal/contact information, and you can copy/paste your letter directly into the form.

4. Your representatives' contact information is available online. After submitting your letter to the Pulitzer Center, consider mailing or emailing your letter to them directly!

Support for Preparing Students for the Contest:

Please navigate to the "Resources for Teachers and Students" tab above to find sample letters written by past contest winners, an evaluation rubric, a presentation to introduce the contest, and more. You can also schedule a free, virtual workshop facilitated by a member of the Pulitzer Center education team. To make a request, please email and let us know...

  1. What is the name of your school, and where is it located?
  2. What date(s) / time(s) is your class available for a workshop? (Please include time zone)
  3. What do you teach, and what grade are your students in?
  4. Is your class meeting remotely, in person, or hybrid?
  5. What virtual platform would you like to use? (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.)

Please help us understand your needs better by filling out this brief survey!

Will you use this lesson plan in a class you teach?