Pictured above: The 2017 Essay Contest Winners – Ethan Brown of Seton Catholic Prep, Ruby Price of Shadow Ridge High School and Craig Ziegler of Sunrise Mountain High School – were escorted in the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade by the Hall of Flame Firefighters.


PHOENIX – High school students in Maricopa County can test their writing mettle and win up to $500 cash by entering the essay contest for the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. In addition, the teacher named on the three winning entries, who encouraged and supported the competition, will win a $150 cash card to use in his or her classroom.

This year’s theme is “Out of the Trenches: A Century of Remembrance – WWI 1918.” This year the Parade commemorates 100 years since the signing of the Armistice ending World War I.

“This theme gives students the opportunity to research the ‘Great War’ and the battle lines that were mostly fought from the trenches,” said Aaron Dudney, says Aaron Dudney, president of Honoring Arizona’s Veterans, the nonprofit that presents the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.

Entries are evaluated on how well they capture the theme, originality, content, creativity, English and grammar.

Other submission criteria:

  • Open to students in Maricopa County grades 9-12, to include home-schooled students
  • Essays must not exceed 500 words
  • Essays must include the student’s name, age and grade; teacher or parent’s name (if home-schooled), email and phone number; school name, address and phone number

Entries can be submitted online through September 24, 2018, at https://www.phoenixveteransdayparade.org/essay-form/.

Thanks to a special sponsorship from Durant’s Restaurant, there will be cash prizes for first, second and third place winners.  Additionally, the authors of the top three essays will ride in the parade, meet our veteran grand marshals, have their essays printed in the parade program, and attend the parade victory party.

“Being an essay winner was such an honor,” says Koriana Cannon, a contest winner from 2016. “Meeting the veterans and being part of the parade is an experience I will never forget. It made me even more thankful for all the people who have risked and lost their lives for America. You are my heroes.”

You can read last year’s winning essays here: https://www.phoenixveteransdayparade.org/parade-essay-contest-2017/