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Love, Family, Prizes: ‘Why I Love My Grandparents’ Essay Contest Launches

Posted on 03/20/19

AARP Michigan will celebrate the special family bond between grandparents and grandchildren with a “Why I Love My Grandparents” essay contest for students in the Mid-Michigan area.

Students from elementary, middle and high schools in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties can enter one essay written in their own words about a grandparent or grandparents, living or deceased.

The three top overall winners will receive cash prizes, and the top three winners in each age category will receive a plaque. All students who enter the free contest will get a certificate of participation.

“Contest judges will be looking for original, creative thinking. Winning essays will paint a picture of the relationship between grandchildren and grandparents,” said Karen Kafantaris, AARP Michigan Associate State Director for Community Outreach.

Grandparents have always played a special role in families. That bond may be more important than ever. U.S. Census figures show the incidence of grandparents raising grandchildren is on the rise.

Entries are due by July 1.

Links to official contest rules, submission forms and release forms are below.

Rules of the contest are as follows:

  • Only one (1) essay may be submitted by each contestant.
  • Essay can be written about a grandparent(s) living or deceased.
  • Essay word count up to:
    • 300 words for Elementary students (ages 6-10)
    • 500 words for Middle school students (ages 11-14)
    • 750 words for High school students (ages 15-18)
  • Essay must reflect contestants own writing and original thinking.
  • Essays must be typed or legibly handwritten in English.
  • All students (in public, private and home schools) enrolled in grades 1-12 residing in the state of Michigan are eligible for the essay contest.
  • There is no cost to enter the contest.
  • Students must submit essays on or before the contest due date, July 1, 2019.
  • Students who have family members employed by or serving as Executive Council members of AARP Michigan or serving as contest judges are not eligible to participate.
  • Official Entry Form must accompany essay and must be completely filled out.
  • Waiver, Release and Indemnity Form must be completed and submitted with essay.


Judging will be completed by a panel of qualified judges. Scoring criteria will be identical for all divisions (Elementary, Middle, and High School) of the contest.

  • Level of impact:        0-40 points
  • To what extent was essay organized with a beginning, middle and end that flows?
  • To what extent was the essay relevant to the theme?
  • Does the essay hold your attention?
  • Are there details to support the theme of the essay?
  • Creativity:      0-40 points
  • Does the essay draw a picture of the relationship between the grandchild and grandparent(s)?
  • Does the essay show originality of thought?
  • Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling:   0-20 points
  • 0-3 mistakes: 20 points
  • 3-7 mistakes: 10 points
  • 8 or more mistakes: 0 points


  • All participants will receive a certificate of participation.
  • The top three winners in each age category will receive a plaque.
  • The top three overall winners will receive a gift card. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of each Prize: 1st Place Overall $300; 2nd Place Overall $200; 3rd Place Overall $100.

Awards Presentation

  • The winners will be announced at the AARP Grandparents Day Event, Sunday September 8, 2019.
  • The event will take place from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Eastern High School Field House, 220 Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48912.
  • The winning essays will be featured on the AARP Michigan website.

Essays will not be returned to students; they become property of AARP Michigan. The Association has the right to edit, publish or otherwise duplicate any essay entered into the contest without payment to the author. Appropriate acknowledgment will be given to the writer(s).

Send essay to:

AARP Michigan

Attn: Grandparents Day Essay Contest

309 N. Washington Square

Suite 110

Lansing, MI 48933

For questions please contact:

Karen Kafantaris


Why I Love My Grandparent Essay Submission Form

Why I Love My Essay Contest Release Form

Why I Love My Grandparent Contest Official Rules

This story is provided by AARP Michigan. Visit the AARP Michigan page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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