• For Teachers & Students
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  • Iwo Jima Flag Raising
  • Ira Hayes NARA Photo
  • Iwo Jima Veterans Holding the Flag, AP Photo
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The 2015 Essay Contest

The National WWII Museum is pleased to announce the winners and runners-up for the 2015 Essay Contest! This year, we received 5,220 essays from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as entries from U.S. Territories like Guam and U.S. military bases from across the world. The Museum enjoyed reading your thoughtful and often poignant responses to the 2015 prompt: "How do you define a hero?"

With so many great essays, it was difficult to choose a winner. However, we are happy to share our winning selections and runners-up with you below.

Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions for the 2015 essay contest, and thank you to everyone who participated! We hope you will join us next year when we announce the 2016 Essay Contest prompt in January!

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Read the Winners

High School

First Place: Sabrina Mahe, "No Capes Necessary," Foothill High School, Henderson, NV
Second Place: Alexander Caines, "The Nature of a Hero," Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL
Third Place: Julia Nguyen, "How Do You Define a Hero?" Kentridge High School, Kent, WA

Middle School

Fifth Grade: Alice Zhong, "The True Heroes," Montair Elementary School, Danville, CA
Sixth Grade: Paul SangHo Shin, "The Unseen Hero," Fay School, Southborough, MA
Seventh Grade: Sarah Chong, "The Hero in My Life," Kennedy Middle School, Cupertino, CA
Eighth Grade: Hannah Lee, "Sharing is Caring," Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, CA

View the honorable mentions on the Museum blog.


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Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.

See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.

The Victory Gardens of WWII
Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!

The Science and Technology of WWII
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.

Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.

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