Sanders Announces Fifth Annual State of the Union Essay Contest

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has launched his annual State of the Union essay contest. The contest is designed to engage Vermont’s high school students on the major issues facing the country.

The U.S. Constitution calls for the president to “give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” As the president prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress next month, Sanders’ essay contest asks Vermont’s high school students to write an essay of 250 words to 500 words detailing their own view of the state of the union.

Sanders annual essay contest, now in its fifth year, is an opportunity for Vermont students to articulate what issues they would prioritize, if they were president. A panel of Vermont teachers will judge the essays. The finalists will have their essays entered into the Congressional Record and join the senator for a roundtable discussion. The winner will also have the opportunity to invite Sanders to their school to hold a student town meeting.

“We need our students to be engaged, to help find solutions for the problems that confront us, and to think about the future of our country. That’s what democracy is all about,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee.

Since the contest was first held, more than 1,150 students from schools throughout Vermont have written essays about such important issues as the declining middle class, climate change, health care reform, and the rising cost of a college education.

The deadline for student essay submissions is noon on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. More information can be found on the senator’s webpage at

Since Sanders’ essay contest began in 2010, winning essays have been written by students from the Vermont Commons School, Winooski High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, and Mount Anthony Union High School.