Move from information to action!


Following the news helps us understand the issues affecting our world. But without a clear path toward solutions, the news can be overwhelming. The Pulitzer Center Education team’s student writing contests offer an opportunity to turn information into engagement. Through these projects, young people process challenging emotions about current events, and take informed action through civic engagement and creative expression.

Our contests equip students with strategies to respond meaningfully to the global issues they encounter in the news, and offer an opportunity to share their ideas with the world. Their writing demonstrates empathy, critical thinking, and the ability to harness the power of their voices for social good.


In the fall, students write letters to people in power that show how global issues manifest in their local communities, and advocate for solutions. Their letters use Pulitzer Center-supported news stories to research and explain global issues, and to inform the solutions they propose.

Contest guidelines and resources

Directrices y recursos


"I look forward to this contest each year because it is a chance for my students to choose a topic that they are interested in and passionate about. It brings current events to the forefront of the course and allows them to make connections across regions.

I love the many different ways that they approach their letter writing, and it is a chance for me to learn more about them as students."

Emily P., teacher in Mississippi

FAYDREN B., teacher in Georgia

“This contest enabled my students to see how they are connected to the world beyond their communities.”

NATALIE C., teacher in Kentucky

“[After Local Letters], the students understand in a real sense that the words they use have a wider impact than our classroom.”

JACKSON P., teacher in Illinois

“Students gained insight and knowledge into the application of our Human Rights unit with world events. They also learned to direct their concerns towards a decision maker in ways that many of them had never done previously. It was not an abstract activity.”

CHRISTINE H., teacher in New Jersey

“Many of my students were inspired to take further action after participating in the Local Letters workshop by sending their letters directly to the people they addressed, continuing conversations about their selected global/local issues, and even meeting with our school administration to further their campaigns.”

BRADY R., teacher in North Carolina

“[Local Letters] helps students have a more ‘real’ audience for their argumentative writing, which is motivating. They were excited to read the Pulitzer articles, and were able to conduct research and make local connections to the issue from the Pulitzer article. For many, they advocated for specific legislation awaiting passing at the state or federal level. Being able to identify who has the power to make the changes that they want was tricky and powerful.

Writing about issues they self-select has a formative impact on their identity. Many students are passionate about their topic, and as we have been sharing letters, they give each other positive feedback and ask questions. It's been an engaging activity and I am so impressed by my students' work."


In the spring, students write poems that include lines from a Pulitzer Center-supported news story in order to express their personal connections to global issues and uplift the voices of those most affected alongside their own.

Contest guidelines and resources

Directrices y recursos


"Students wonder about the world and its complex issues. Pulitzer Center’s Fighting Words Poetry Contest gives them an opportunity to choose a topic of interest and interact with the text in a meaningful way. [...]

Fighting Words lets students know that people do care about what they think, what they’ve learned, and what they imagine the world can be. I am so thankful Fighting Words exists."

Janelle B., teacher in Texas

LOIS M., teacher in Oregon

“My curricular goals of global awareness and historical empathy were supported by the Pulitzer stories read and analyzed resulting in producing creative poetry...Fighting Words provided the opportunity for a creative, different, and deeper form of assessment. Students enjoyed not only expressing themselves, but as one student expressed in my class, 'I found a different part of my soul.'"

LORA S., teacher in Massachusetts

“[Fighting Words] helped raise awareness of global issues in an accessible way for all students, cultivated our shared value in the power of words and lifted student voices. It gave a chance for students to express their emotion, creativity, and skill, employing and experimenting with poetic tools and devices studied in class.”

ELIZABETH J., teacher in Wisconsin

“Students care about what is happening in their community and in the world. They want to be able to make a difference in their local and global communities. This contest is one way that students can share their voices with the world. This contest allows them to make a difference with their words.”

THERESA M., teacher in New Jersey

“Fighting Words reinforced my social justice focus within my curriculum. It provided a good opportunity for students to engage in artivism and use their student voices towards advocacy for spotlighting underreported issues.”

PENNY R., teacher in New York

“As part of teaching poetry I firmly believe in the need for students to write as well as read great poems. So many come into class saying (or thinking) that they don't 'get' poetry. Thus reading the work of students who participate in the Fighting Words competition is an inspiration to my own students.

Furthermore, I am always trying to bring the greater world into the classroom, particularly in a school which the kids themselves refer to as a 'bubble.' The wonderful stories on the Pulitzer website open their eyes to important and often unrecognized facets of our global society.”


Three images from reporting featured by winners of the 2022 Local Letters for Global Change contest.


2022 Winners and Finalists

Collage of images from news stories students responded to in their Local Letters contest entries.


2021 Winners and Finalists

Read the winning entries to the 2019 Local Letters for Global Change contest.


2020 Winners and Finalists

Local Letters for Global Change 2019


2019 Winners and Finalists

 Local Letters for Global Change Graphic


2018 Winners and Finalists



Lead a workshop using our presentation materials and writing templates, or invite a Pulitzer Center Education team member to facilitate a free, virtual workshop for your students.


School Districts and Organizations

Reach out to us at [email protected] to discuss partnership opportunities!

<strong>School Districts and Organizations</strong>


Make your voice heard! Explore the Local Letters for Global Change guidelines and enter the contest. The Fighting Words Poetry Contest will open in the spring (deadline in May)


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