Frequently Asked Questions
The competition is open to residents of Lafayette CA, attending 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in public, private, and parochial schools. Homeschooled kids in the equivalents of grades 6-8 are also eligible.
Can I choose to remain anonymous?
Sadly, we aren't considering anonymous entries for this contest. At least if you win, you can brag about it to everyone you know and be able to prove it, too.
My piece has been previously published. Can I still enter it?
Sorry, no. Entries have to be unpublished prior to the contest.
Can I submit my entry before the deadline?
Of course! In fact, we would prefer if you didn't all overflow the P.O. box on the very last day before entries are due.
Mail your entries to:
Lafayette Youth Arts Society
P.O. Box 4
Lafayette, CA 94549
Can I write my entry by hand?
We prefer typed entries, but handwritten is fine too. Just make sure your entry is neat and legible, so that the judges don't have to spend hours deciphering your writing.
The actual entry has to be original, but you can definitely get help from parents or teachers. As long as their help is confined to making small edits or suggestions, that's fine. They can't write your piece or take your photo, though (obviously).
Can I submit something I did as homework or for a project?
Yeah, why not? Just make sure that what you submit is actually relevant to the prompt. Also, keep in mind that if your entry was a school assignment, it probably isn't what you want to submit to a contest which judges entries based on originality and flair.
What kinds of writing pieces are allowed?
Essays, (very) short stories, letters, and even short plays are fine! Whatever you can think of (within reason). Just be creative (but stick to the word limit!).
Ah, you're asking the right questions now (kidding). Regardless of whether you're entering the writing or the photography contest, your entry has to be interesting and different to catch the eye of the judges. If you're writing, take a different point of view than what most people would. If you're taking a photo, forget the leaves with water droplets and look instead for the unexpected.
This next piece of advice is solely for the writers: Little things matter, and by little things, I mean punctuation, grammar, spelling, and the like. Give the judges a break, and use spell check. Keep in mind, of course, that spell check messes up too (a lot) and you should ask a human being to check over your work as well, just to make sure that you didn't replace a "you're" with a "your" or spell "interesting" as "intresting".
This contest is being run by teenagers. What's to say you won't mess up and have something go wrong with the contest?
Well, we've got all our judges lined up, so we can be sure that there won't be any issues with the judging. We've got the money for prizes already in the contest bank account, so you needn't worry that we won't be able to give out the prizes. Other than that, there isn't much room for mistakes to be made in the first place, is there?
How do we know that everything's going to be judged fairly?
Fair enough question. Nobody in either of our ('our' being Zoe's and Uma's) families will be judging the entries: if you want to see who will be judging the entries, head on over here. Obviously, neither of us will be entering the contest; that would hardly be fair (also, against the rules, since neither of us are in middle school). None of our siblings will be able to enter, either. How the judging will work is as follows: when we send the entries to the judges, names will be removed from the entries before they're sent. For the photography contest, there's a panel of judges, whom you'll find on the judges' page. These judges will collaboratively choose the winners.
Why are you guys doing this?
Originally, we thought it'd be a fun little summer project to combine all our interests- writing, photography, and technology- but since then, it's become a lot more than that. The response of the community was really encouraging. Also, we think it's great that now, Lafayette will have its own contest, like Orinda does.
Where do you see the contest five years from now?
We hope that by that time, the contest will have become an integral part of Lafayette, like the Art and Wine Festival, and the Reservoir Run. We hope that the contest will be something which kids look forward to each fall.
Can I submit more than one entry?
You can submit one or two photos, but only one written piece. Sorry, writers.