Grade 8-12 Students Invited to Creatively Express Their Interpretation of The Themes of Democracy, Diversity and Opportunity

Today Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution and WHRO announced the launch of “Our American Story” student contest. Designed to foster creativity, cooperative learning, critical examination and discussion among our country’s next generation of leaders, students in grades 8 through 12 are encouraged to submit entries that respond to one of three video prompts and explore 2019 Commemoration themes of DemocracyDiversity and Opportunity.

“Our American Story inspires students to learn about, and establish a modern connection to, formative 1619 Virginia events that indelibly influenced and continue to shape today’s America,” said Kathy Spangler, Executive Director of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution. “As the next generation of leaders, it is imperative that students establish a personal connection to the impact that today’s actions can exert on our country’s ideals of Democracy, Diversity and Opportunity.”

Working in teams, students will develop and submit entries in a variety of formats including theatrical interpretations, musical performances, dance pieces, fiction or non-fiction videos, documentaries, visual arts, performance art, animation, spoken word, multi-media projects, podcasts and social media campaigns. Submissions will be judged on content quality, creativity, and technical quality. The contest opens on August 7, 2018 and closes on November 30, 2018.  Visit to view full entry details.

A grand prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the winning team’s affiliated school or association, and 10 iPad minis will be distributed to members of the winning student team. In addition, prizes will be awarded in each of the three category themes – Democracy, Diversity, and Opportunity. Category theme winners will receive $2,000 for their affiliated school or association and $50 Amazon gift cards will be awarded to student team members. Finally, a prize will be awarded to the project that is selected as the audience favorite.

WHRO is available to conduct Our American Story presentations to schools. All participating schools will receive curriculum, lesson plans and toolkits for 8th– 12th grades on the themes of Democracy, Diversity, and Opportunity. To schedule an in-person presentation for your school, contact 2019 Project Manager Kathy Martin at 757-889-9443 or

The Our American Story contest is inspired by formative events that occurred in 1619 Virginia. These 1619 events include the First Representative Legislative Assembly in the New World, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers to the Virginia colony, the first official English Thanksgiving in North America and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia colony.

About the 2019 Commemoration

The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution™, highlights events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured programs, events and legacy projects will position Virginia as a leader in education, tourism and economic development. American Evolution™ commemorates the ongoing journey toward the key ideals of democracy, diversity and opportunity. Dominion Resources is an American Evolution Founding Partner and Altria Group and TowneBank are Virginia Colony Partners.