SciFest Poetry Jam: 2024

Dates and Deadlines

Submission deadline: February 23, 2024

Finalists are notified: March 15, 2024

Award ceremony: March 22, 2024

Contest Fliers

Download the K-12 STEM flier (PDF)

Download the JRW flier (PDF)

Questions?

scifest@randolphcollege.edu

In addition to our STEM-based K-12 Poetry Contest (STEM Contest), this year we are offering a second contest, the James River Watershed Poetry Contest (JRW Contest) for high school students and college-aged residents of the Lynchburg and surrounding regions.

STEM Contest: Randolph College invites all K-12 students in Lynchburg and surrounding counties to submit science- or math-based poems. Three top prizes ($100, $50, and $25 gift cards) will be awarded to the three top poems in each grade group. If the winning poem is completed as a class assignment by more than 9 students in a class, the teacher will receive the same prize as the student.

JRW ContestJames River Association, in partnership with Randolph College and the Black Earth Institute, invites anyone between the ages of 14 and 23 who currently lives or attends school in the Greater Lynchburg Area to submit poems about the James River or James River Watershed.  Submissions will be judged in two categories separated by poem authors 1) pursuing or 2) completed a high school degree (or equivalent), and a winner and an honorable mention from each category will be selected.  The winner of each category will be awarded a $500 cash prize, and the honorable mention will receive a $100 cash prize.

Finalists from both contests will be invited to read their poems at a catered reception during SciFest weekend, and the top 52 STEM Contest poems, along with the top 4 JRW Contests poems, will be published in a book available free to all finalists.

Eligibility

All participants must live or attend school in the greater Lynchburg Area (Lynchburg City; Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell, and Nelson Counties).

STEM Contest: All K-12 students are invited to submit a poem to the STEM Contest. Students or teachers may make submissions. We encourage teachers to have their entire class write poems and submit them to the competition.

JRW Contest: Anyone aged 14-23 who is pursuing or completed a high school (or equivalent) degree are invited to submit a poem to the JRW Contest.  Individual authors or teachers may make submissions.  Category 1: a student between age 14-18 currently pursuing a high school degree (or equivalent); Category 2: an individual between age 18-23 who holds a high school degree (or equivalent).

Requirements

STEM Contest: The poem must have a theme focused on a science or math topic. Any poetry genre may be used, e.g. Haiku, limerick, free form, etc. Poems may be illustrated but only the text will be judged. Poems may be hand written or typed. All poems must be the original work of the student. Only one poem per student.

JRW Contest: Poems may be in any form (traditional, free verse, etc.) and should be typed using a standard font 11 or 12 point. Poems may be illustrated, but only the text will be judged. All poems must be the original work of the poet (AI-generated poems are not accepted). Up to three poems per submitter. Poems may not be the same as those submitted to the STEM Contest, although eligible individuals are welcome to submit to both contests using different work.

Submission Process

Submissions for 2024 are currently being accepted!
All submissions should include:

  • Author’s first and last name, grade (if applicable), school (if applicable), and t-shirt size
  • An email address for a contact for the entry (author, teacher, or guardian – preferably all three (if applicable)). If we do not have a valid e-mail address, we may not be able to notify you of receipt or of finalists.
  • If the poem was completed in class, be sure to include the teacher and school principal names, and email addresses.
  • Poem title

Electronic Submission Options

Electronic submissions are preferred and are due by midnight on Friday, February 23, 2024.

Mail

You may also submit your poem by mail. Please note that your entry must be postmarked by Friday, February 23, 2024. Mail to:

Randolph College Science Festival
Randolph College
2500 Rivermont Avenue
Lynchburg, VA 24503

Judging

STEM Contest: A panel of college judges will select finalists (52 poems: 13 from each grade range). Certificates will be awarded to each finalist, and all will be published in a book provided to all finalists. From the 52 poetry finalists, three top prizes ($100, $50, $25) will be awarded in four grade range categories: primary, elementary, middle school, and high school. Teachers will receive the same prize if the poem was done in their class which has more than 9 submissions.

JRW Contest: A panel of three judges will select a winner and an honorable mention in each of the two categories. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $500. The honorable mention in each category will receive a cash prize of $100.  Category 1: a student between age 14-18 currently pursuing a high school degree (or equivalent); Category 2: an individual between age 18-23 who holds a high school degree (or equivalent).

Award Ceremony

2024 finalists will be announced here and on the I Love Randolph Science Facebook page by 5 p.m., Friday, March 15, 2024.

Finalists will be invited to read their poems at the SciFest Poetry Reading and Awards Ceremony, held at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2024. Parents and teachers will receive an invitation to the ceremony. All submitters, family, friends, and community members are welcome to join us for this happy event!

Poetry Books and Finalists

Finalists’ contributions can be found in the following books (printed copies have been distributed to finalists):