Sumner County HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS are encouraged to participate in our Essay Contest! Applications are welcome from students in public, private or home schools.

Our goal is to encourage students to become aware of what makes a community special. The theme of this year’s essay contest is Through the Lens.

One winning essay will be awarded $1,000 with an additional $500 going to the student’s public or private school referring teacher for classroom supplies/resources.

Essay Prompt & Parameters

Essays should capture the student’s observations on the essay prompt: What role does the past play in our lives today?  

What is a Lens Essay?

This is an analytical writing that draws juxtaposition between personal observations, experiences, details and a larger concept.  

What is the purpose of a Lens Essay? 

The main purpose of the lens essay is to understand and critique the subject matter. Restrictions created by the writer’s lens will engage critical thinking and theory and construct a conversation between multiple ideas.  

Essays must be titled, up to 500 words, typed and double spaced. Essays exceeding the word limit will be automatically disqualified.

Contest Rules

  1. Only one entry per student is allowed.
  2. Essays must be received by the Preservation Foundation of Sumner County on or before October 27, 2023. No late entries will be accepted.
  3. Students must be enrolled in a Sumner County public, private or home school association.
  4. The essay must be the original work of the student.
  5. Failure to comply with the contest rules will result in disqualification.

Judging & Prizes

One high school senior will be selected as decided by a panel of judges. Judges may also choose to award Honorable Mentions. Names and school affiliation will not be revealed to the judges during the process. Essays will be judged based on content, originality, and creativity. Results will be announced by December 8, 2023.


To submit your essay, compose an email with the following information:

  • Student’s Name
  • Student’s Email
  • Expected Graduation Date
  • School
  • Essay Title
  • Referring Teacher and Teacher Email, where appropriate

Send this information and your attached essay to:

If you have any questions, please contact us at this email or (615) 572-7282.