The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

City College’s 12th Annual Outstand Essay Contest


The 2021 City College English Department’s Outstanding Essay Contest asks students to write about insights they have discovered after a year of the pandemic. 

According to Dawna DeMartini, English professor at City College who oversees the contest, all City College students are eligible to submit a 800–1,500-word essay by April 23. The contest, which offers six cash prizes, is funded by the Sierra Health Foundation.

DeMartini added that the competition is open to “any student with a voice and something to say, which is all of our students.”

An announcement sent to faculty of the Language and Literature division encouraged students to submit their essays no later than April 23 at 11:59 p.m. to DeMartini at [email protected].

A confirmation email will be sent in return acknowledging that the student’s essay has been submitted by the deadline, said DeMartini.

“This is my second year coordinating the essay contest, although we’ve offered [it] for a number of years,” said DeMartini, noting that the contest has been held at City College since 2009.

Students can submit their work as an academic essay or as a piece of creative nonfiction/personal essay. Each category will yield three winners, DeMartini said, “first, second and third prize, with first prize being $1,000, second prize being $500, and third prize being $300.”

This year’s prompt is from American author Rebecca Solnit, who is known for writing about feminism and the environment, among other issues. DeMartini said this may resonate with students who have had to isolate themselves, offering them the opportunity to examine changes on a personal and social level with communities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prompt reads: 

In some cases the effect may retain for 8 hours also. cialis samples free And, in this time order levitra online of recession everyone wants to save your money and to offer you the best possible products. The active ingredient Tadalafil, inhibits the order viagra australia PDE-5 enzyme and thus, enables better, smoother blood flow into the penis. What is average ejaculation time? cheap cialis There is no such strict time period.

“When a storm subsides, the air is washed clean of whatever particulate matter has been obscuring the view, and you can often see farther and more sharply than at any other time. When this storm clears, we may, as do people who have survived a serious illness or accident, see where we were and where we should go in a new light.” 

According to DeMartini, the prompt, which uses a metaphor of a storm cleansing air and clearing obstructions, came from a City College English professor whose students responded well to it. 

“[Solnit’s excerpt] acknowledges the struggle we’ve all been experiencing this year and looks to the future and has students present their hopes and dreams for the future,” DeMartini said, a theme that opens a world of possibilities in writing.

“If a student is asking for advice, I’d say, ‘Write the essay you want to write because your authentic voice will always be better than what you think should be written,’” said DeMartini.

Despite campus closures and the switch to remote learning, the 2020 Outstanding Essay Contest was a success last spring. 

“The committee last year, which consisted of City College English faculty members, were surprised by how many students were still able to submit their essay despite not being on campus,” said DeMartini.

Student Senate President Spencer Slavazza said three Student Senate members, along with English department faculty, will  participate as judges for the first time to offer students’ perspectives on the essays.

“Write with your heart and write with intention and true experience,” Slavazza advised. “Don’t be afraid to enter the contest.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Express

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento City College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Express

Comments (0)

All The Express Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *