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Youth Writing Competition


For Virginia Middle School Students (Grades 6-8)

After seven very successful Middle School Writing Contests, the Tidewater Oyster Gardeners Association (TOGA)  is continuing the writing competition with prizes of $500, $250, and $100 for the top three essays. The theme of the essays is "Consider the Oyster"- a wide open category that must include an essay based on oysters.


Additionally, the school of the first-place entry will be awarded $200 to spend on educational aids. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 6, 7 and 8. Home-schooled students are welcome to enter.


"The 2019 increase in prize money indicates the commitment TOGA members have shown to increase the emphasis on education for our organization," said Terry Lewis, President of TOGA. "Reaching young people at an early age is very important to start a lifelong interest in ecology and the importance of the health of the Bay," he said.


This is a change for winners of the 2023 writing contest,- Winners will be announced and awards presented at the TOGA Member, Sponsor, and VIP Appreciation Party– Freeshade Community Center, 1544 Regent Road, Syringa, VA 23169-2314, 16 March 2024, 1:00 – 4:00PM. The winner's parents, a mentor, or teachers may be guests of TOGA for the presentation event. The winning entries will be read by the students at the awards program on this occasion.

Read more about the About the Appreciation Party here.

The three top winners will be published on the TOGA Website and may be published in other publications or websites, including the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association website.  Essays can be written about oyster life, history, recent developments, or even recipes with background from how the recipe came about. If you know Middle School students, please encourage them to enter.


Previous year's winners are now growing oysters in the floats they won for their essays. This is a great way to encourage youngsters to get involved with oysters, learn about the ecology of the Bay, and help improve our environment.


The article should be written in WORD format (or PDF) and attached to an e-mail. The submissions can be made between now and the December 15, deadline, annually.


— Terry Lewis, MOG

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