Volume Six Contests:

  • International (open to secondary students outside the United States):

    Can you experience happiness without having experienced sadness? Emotions are widely regarded as the defining trait of humanity. To what extent do emotions exist on a spectrum in which they are relative to each other? Or, are emotions absolute and objective? Also, how did emotions come to be? Are they facts of reality, like elements on a periodic table, or are they purely constructions that we made up? How does our language used to describe emotions affect how we feel about them? You may consider as many or as few of these questions in your response; additionally you may write in whatever medium you want that can suggest a way of thinking about these questions.

  • National (open to secondary students in the United States):

    Among us mortals, we often hear the phrase being tossed around, “__ is dead.” “____” in this case being something that we personify with having a life. So the question is, can an idea, culture, or phenomenon ever be dead? Can it ever be alive? Here are some further questions that you could explore (remember, in whatever form of writing you want): How has the “death” of a culture or idea in my life or in history personally affected me? When do we say that something has a life to begin with? How does personality connect to calling things dead or alive? Does our use of the term say anything about our current culture? Is it overall helpful or not to call things dead or alive? Can you kill a city, and has it happened? You can answer none of these questions or all of them and still have a great entry, as long as it’s creative, makes your readers think, and relates to the topic.

  • Art (open to secondary students anywhere in the world):

    Modern society is often considered as obsessed with technology, the same technology that was created to be used as a tool of society. However, as technology becomes a bigger part of our lives, one may argue that we have become slaves of our technology, and no longer have control over our life. Make a piece of visual art elucidating the power dynamic between individuals and their technology.

  • Cover (open only to students at Columbia Secondary School):

    This is a very specialized art contest, for the cover of the journal. It has to feature two animals, preferably ones not featured in any other volumes. The primary color of the piece should also not be exactly one that was featured in any other volumes. To see covers of other volumes, go to and scroll down a bit. You may want to look to those images to approximate the artistic style you should be working with, but if you want to try something new we would welcome that by all means.

  • Submissions deadline is now Friday December 21st. For information on exactly how to submit, see the SUBMIT page.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of this year's contests!

  • International Contest

    First Place: Barnabás Paksi (Varga Katalin Gimnázium, Szolnok, Hungary), Bug in the System
    Second Place (tied): Hakan Urgancıoğlu (Sainte Pulchérie Lisesi, Istanbul, Turkey), White on the Outside; and Gábor Medvegy (Varga Katalin Gimnázium, Szolnok, Hungary), My Journey in the Justice Institute

    See their photos here!

  • National Contest

    First Place: Amogh Dimri (Columbia Secondary School, New York, United States), The Trial of Sibling Envy

Volume Five Contests:

  • International (open to secondary students outside the United States): Imagine ‘justice' as a building. What does it look like? How is it planned and built? Who builds it? What kind of structure does it have? What is inside, and what happens inside? How does it affect its surroundings? Your response may take the form of an essay, story, poem, dialogue, letter, real estate advertisement, architectural prospectus, or other written genre. You may provide black-and-white illustrations, but the written part must be capable of standing on its own.

  • National (open to secondary students in the United States): Are there any situations in which envy is justified?

  • Art (open only to students at Columbia Secondary School): Take the word "contrariwise" and create a piece of art that you feel embodies it in meaning or essence.

  • Infrequently Asked Questions (open to all secondary students): Ever wonder about the answers to fascinating, infrequently asked questions? Last year, Diana Senechal asked: "What would happen if corn rebelled and overthrew the cob?" We weren't sure, but she thought "the cob would be... shucked." We know you've got some weird question on your mind, let us know!

  • All submissions must be completely original. *

  • * Of course, philosophically speaking, there's no such thing as "completely original." all we mean is to write your words "in your own words." Don't take the words out of other people's mouths; they might get startled and accidentally bite your fingers.