Students dress for success on the first day of the Fall 2019 semester. (Photo by Sabree Hill/ Dillard University Photographer)
Newsletter, Press

Dillard University’s Humanities Programs Contest: Celebrating Communities

January 24, 2024

Media Contact:
Marycruz Arias, Media Relations Manager

Hosted by the School of Humanities English Program and Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture at Dillard University. 

Dillard University’s School of Humanities English Program and the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture are proud to announce the Humanities Programs Contest, exclusively for 11th and 12th-grade high school students. This contest encourages young scholars to explore and celebrate living culture and traditions within their communities.

Topics: Celebrating living culture, including the arts, or creating a better tomorrow; describe, discuss, or identify a tradition that remains vital and is passed on in your community.

Students are encouraged to participate in one of three creative categories: Essay, Poetry, and Recipe, each offering a unique avenue to express their understanding and appreciation of cultural traditions.

Contest Categories:

Essay: Submit an essay of 750-1250 words (three to five pages maximum), focusing on a cultural tradition and its significance within living culture, spanning from dance to literature to visual arts. Submissions must adhere to MLA format and be presented in a 12-point font.

Poetry: Send a collection of three to five poems (no more than three pages in total). These poems should capture a tradition, emphasizing its importance in living culture and the arts. Use a 12-point font for your submission.

Recipe: Share a traditional recipe that holds significance in your family or community, along with a 100-250 word narrative explaining its history and cultural importance. Winners will have the opportunity to prepare their recipe at the Celebration Finale.


1st Place: $200

2nd Place: $100

3rd Place: $50

Submission Period: January 16 – February 20, 2024

How to Submit: Please send your entry as a single Word file to, using a 12-point font. Indicate the category of your submission in the email.

Distinguished Judges:

Essays: Jon Pult, Ray Charles Endowed Professor

Poetry: Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, Louisiana Poet Laureate 2021-23, Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor of English

Recipe: Zella Palmer, Director and Endowed Chair, Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture

Entry Fee: A $5 fee per entry is required. Include proof of payment with your submission.

Contact Information:


Phone: 504-816-4450


Address: 2601 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA

Dillard University encourages young scholars to participate in this enriching celebration of culture and tradition.