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Turning Points Essay Winners

Essay Contest Details and Timelines

What is the Turning Points program?

Teachers and peers help students through a process of self-reflection and discussion about a significant event – a turning point – in their lives. Students then write an essay about that event to relate its significance to their present situation – and to their future. They are then encouraged to submit their essays for formal evaluation, recognition, and publication in an annual anthology. Those chosen for publication receive cash prizes, engraved plaques, a copy of the anthology, and are invited to recognition events in their area.
 

What are the criteria for the submission of Student Essays? Students currently in Grades 6-12 whose teachers have registered for the program are eligible to submit essays in consultation with their teacher. It is suggested that student essays be assessed/evaluated in the classroom as part of the Language (English/French/ESL/ELD) program.

Essay Requirements:  

1. Essays must be authentic (true story)

2. Essays must adhere to the maximum word count for the grade level:
Group A Grade 6: 250 to 350 words
Group B Grades 7 and 8: 350 to 500 words
Group C Grades 9 and 10: 500 to 700 words
Group D Grades 11 and12: 800 to 1,000 words
 
3. Essays must have an effective title (note that "My Turning Point" or "Turning Point essay" will not be accepted). Title is not included in the word count.
 
4. Student name must not appear on the essay pages.
 
5. Essay font must be Arial, size 12.
 
6. Entries will be assessed on the basis of originality of thought, clarity of language, organizational structure, use of conventions such as grammar and spelling, understanding of a "turning point" and impact on the reader.
 
7. Once an essay is submitted to The Learning Partnership, the essay becomes the property of The Learning Partnership.
 
8. Students whose essays are chosen for inclusion in the Anthology if Winning Essays will read their essays at the awards event.
 

 

"All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are."
- Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize-winning Chilean Poet and Political Activist

 

Alberta

Essay Submissions Open
Calgary: February 19
Lethbridge: February 19
Essay Submissions Close
Calgary: February 23
Lethbridge: February 23
Student Success Awards Event
Calgary: May 10
Lethbridge: TBA

Manitoba

Essay Submissions Open
Winnipeg: April 11
Essay Submissions Close
Winnipeg: April 18
Student Success Awards Event
Winnipeg: May 29

New Brunswick

Essay Submissions Open
February 5 (Middle School)
March 12 (High School)
Essay Submissions Close
February 9 (Middle School)
March 16 (High School)
Student Success Awards Event
May 23

 

Newfoundland & Labrador – East

Essay Submissions Open
St. John’s: April 9
Essay Submissions Close
St. John’s: April 13
Student Success Awards Event
St. John’s: June 1

Newfoundland & Labrador – Central

Essay Submissions Open
Gander: March 22
Essay Submissions Close
Gander: March 29
Student Success Awards Event
Gander: May 17

Newfoundland & Labrador – Labrador

Essay Submissions Open
Goose Bay, Wabush, Church Falls: March 22
Essay Submissions Close
Goose Bay, Wabush, Church Falls: March 29
Student Success Awards Event
Goose Bay, Wabush, Church Falls: May 24
 

Newfoundland & Labrador – West

Essay Submissions Open
Corner Brook: March 22
Essay Submissions Close
Corner Brook: March 29
Student Success Awards Event
Corner Brook: May 31

Nova Scotia

Essay Submissions Open
Halifax: March 5
Essay Submissions Close
Halifax: March 9
Student Success Awards Event
Halifax: May 15

Ontario

Essay Submissions Open
Brantford (NPAAMB): March 8
Essay Submissions Close
Brantford (NPAAMB): March 21
Student Success Awards Event
Brantford (NPAAMB): May 10
 

Ontario, GTA

Essay Submissions Open
March 8
Essay Submissions Close
March 21
Student Success Awards Event
May 7

Ontario, North Bay

Essay Submissions Open
March 8
Essay Submissions Close
March 21
Student Success Awards Event
May 8

Ontario, Sudbury

Essay Submissions Open
March 8
Essay Submissions Close
March 21
Student Success Awards Event
May 9
 

Saskatchewan

Essay Submissions Open
Estevan: April 2
Essay Submissions Close
Estevan: April 6
Student Success Awards Event
TBA

Turning Points

Turning Points

Character development through a values-driven process.

Turning Points is a powerful program that touches hearts and souls as students write about a significant event that impacted on their lives.

The Turning Points Program is a character development and literacy program that provides opportunities for students in Grades 6 - 12 to read, write and think about their fundamental values. A process of self-reflection and discussions with teachers and peers leads to writing a narrative essay about a significant event -- a turning point -- in which students organize and express their thoughts about the principles that guide their lives.  Students are encouraged to submit their essays for formal evaluation, recognition and publication.

"The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe." 
~ David Hare, British Playwright and Director

Did you know

 
  • Turning Points Program focuses on character development and literacy through a written expression program
  • Grades 6-12 students participate in English and French in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
  • More than 14,000 public school students participated in essay writing 2013.
  • More than 400 volunteer judges are involved in the selection process of the winning essays
  • Over 97,000 Turning Points essays have been written.
  • Winners receive cash prize, plaque and are published in the annual Turning Points Anthology of Winning Essays.
  • Turning Points is in its 15th year

 

Register your School for Turning Points

 

Program Objectives

  • To transform students’ lives by instilling a lifelong love of learning
  • To provide a vehicle for students to focus on their values and life goals and express them on paper
  • To provide schools with a flexible, easy to implement character education program
  • To offer teachers an engaging, classroom process that reinforces writing skills while generating student motivation to express themselves in written form by linking the essay writing to the student’s personal experience
  • To mobilize community recognition for young people
  • To encourage families to engage in an on-going dialogue about what really matters in life
This program is currently offered in both English and French in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

 


Celebrate the resiliency and greatness of the human spirit.

“I know that Turning Points is more than an essay contest.  It is one of those golden moments to celebrate the resiliency and greatness of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Julian’s essay won him the recognition and respect of the people attending the Awards Celebration and his win energized a school community and generated hope among students that they too could tell their stories and rise above adversity and meet with success.”

- Teacher (Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board)

Emotional, inspiring and informative experience.

“This was our third year in participating in the turning points event. This has proven to be an emotional, inspiring and informative experience for all of us. This speaks to the work that we must continue to do with our students by listening to their stories and by collectively striving to make a difference in their young lives. They make a difference in ours by having the courage to share their innermost thoughts, struggles and dreams.”
 
- Catherine McCullough,
Director of Education and Secretary of the Board
Sudbury Catholic Board of Education

 

Who Benefits From the Turning Points Program? 

Students benefit as they reflect on a turning point in their life that had a profound impact on them. With the support of their peers and teachers, they explore their values and find the confidence to write their story in a purposeful and articulate way that truly touches the heart of readers. Students who choose to enter the essay contest may receive cash prizes, an engraved plaque, and become published authors when their essay is included in the annual Anthology of Winning Essays.
 
Teachers benefit because Turning Points helps them get to know their students better and more intimately. The program provides teacher-friendly lesson plans and activities.
 
Faculty of Education students benefit when, in their role as judges, they get a deeper understanding of the challenges many students bring with them into the classroom. They have an opportunity to assess authentic student writing through the use of rubrics and the moderated marking process. They also become aware of a wonderful program they can use with their own
students when they begin teaching.

Families benefit from the revelations and insights that this personal story telling process brings. It gives them an opportunity to discuss important issues and events. 

Community partners benefit from learning what our young people are dealing with and thinking about, and can help celebrate student success.
 

"All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are." 
- Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize-winning Chilean Poet and Political Activist


For more information on Turning Points contact:
 
Marni Angus
National Program Manager
Phone: 416-915-7615
Email: mangus@thelearningpartnership.ca
 
Regional Program Managers:
​Calgary
Kathleen Kawalauskas
Phone: 403 280 1681
Email: kkawalauskas@thelearningpartnership.ca
 
Northern Ontario
Olive Ridler
Phone: 705 474 5651
Email: oridler@thelearningpartnership.ca
 
Fredericton
Eric Estabrooks
Phone: 506 757 8015
Email: eestabrooks@thelearningpartnership.ca

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