Nebraska Emerging Writers and Artists Contest asks high schoolers to share state’s ‘untold stories’

KEARNEY – Nebraska is known for agriculture, Arbor Day, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the sandhill crane migration, Warren Buffett, Runza restaurants, Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Dorothy Lynch dressing, the College World Series, Chimney Rock and its unique Unicameral Legislature.

You probably know all about these people, places and things.

But there are many “untold stories,” as well, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney is asking high schoolers across the state to share them. That’s the theme of this year’s Nebraska Emerging Writers and Artists Contest, an annual competition sponsored by the Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society in collaboration with the UNK Writing Center, Sigma Tau Delta English honor society, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and UNK Art Society.

Open to any Nebraska high schooler, the contest gives students an opportunity to showcase their talent while competing for cash prizes. Participants are asked to submit an essay, poem, short story or artwork (photography, painting, drawing or 3D) to be judged by UNK undergraduate students. First-place winners in each category will receive a $100 prize and runners-up will be awarded $50.

Of course, every submission must use the “Untold Stories” theme as inspiration. Students could highlight a hometown legend, off-the-beaten-path site, fascinating flora and fauna or little-known aspects of important events such as the death of Crazy Horse at Nebraska’s Pine Ridge or the birth of Malcolm X in Omaha. Consider, too, “untold stories” about Nebraska’s physical environment, its diverse population, challenges the state overcame and other issues that remain to be addressed as we continue to forge a sense of what constitutes a Nebraskan.

To submit an entry, visit and follow the contest guidelines. The submission deadline is Feb. 28, 2023. Only one entry is allowed per person.

For more information, email Phi Eta Sigma President Tessa Eldridge at or faculty adviser Maria O’Malley at