High school seniors: Share your stories!
Inspire yourself!  Encourage others!

Congratulations seniors, graduation is right around the corner! Now, think about all the challenges – academic, social or personal – you experienced to get to this point and share it for a chance to be published, win up to $500 and inspire others!

Since 2012, the Excel in the Estrie! essay challenge has celebrated the success of high school seniors and helped them to think proactively about their future in the Estrie region. Offered by Make Way For YOUth, a project from Townshippers’ Association, the challenge was originally launched alongside the regional Hooked on School Week activities to celebrate school perseverance. Judging and winners are announced in late spring.

We want to hear your stories about overcoming obstacles on your path to educational success and want to know how you see yourself, in the future, living and working in the Townships. So, enter today and share your story! [Read on for full criteria.]



Submit an essay in one of two categories (written essay or video essay) that (1) illustrates an obstacle you overcame during high school AND (2) tells us how you envision your future in the Townships.

Share what you are comfortable sharing. Past essays have focused on successes in transitioning into a new school, standing up to bullying, dealing with a learning disability or tackling a particularly tricky subject. We really want to hear from you and learn about your story, but if you don’t have any personal experiences to share, you can identify a challenge facing others and come up with suggestions to overcome it. In all cases, essays must end with your plans or dreams for making a life for yourself in the region.

Enter by April 17, 2020!

Submit your essay using the form below.

Alternatively, you can download and complete the entry form then send, along with your essay, to:
Townshippers’ Association (Excel in the Estrie!) 
100-257 Queen, Sherbrooke, QC J1M 1K7

Entries may also be emailed to mwfy@townshippers.org 



Beth Vanasse, Make Way for YOUth Migration Agent
819-566-5717 (toll-free: 1-866-566-5717)

Online submission:



To be eligible submit your essay for one of the two categories (either written or video). There are two parts to this challenge, both must be included in the essay:

Part 1) Identify one or more obstacles as well as solutions to overcome them (whether they were planned or applied), which occurred while attending school or within your community. If you don’t have a personal experience to draw from, feel free to identify an obstacle you have noticed others struggling with and propose a solution that may help others.

Part 2) tell us about your future; where are you continuing your studies, what will you be taking and how do you see yourself in that career field, five years from now, living and working in the Townships?

Each essay must be submitted, in English, with a completed entry form [included in the online submission process]. If submitted by hand, essays must be legible.

All submissions must be original work.

Submission will be disqualified if it does not meet the requirements or is submitted after the submission date of April 19, 2019, after 5:00 p.m. EST.

Written essays

 Must be a minimum of 500 words to a maximum of 600 words, have a title, include a word count.

Entries must be typed using an 11 or 12-point Times New Roman or an equivalent font.

 Must be submitted in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format.

Video essays

 Entry must not exceed three minutes in length.

Video can be shot using any kind of equipment provided the orientation is landscape/horizontal

Entries can be uploaded to Townshippers’ using this online form OR uploaded to  GoogleDrive or YouTube with a link to the video provided using this form or through email.

Privacy Policy: Townshippers’/Make Way for YOUth Estrie collects your information for the purpose of this essay challenge. You will be notified if your essay has been chosen. The names of winners will be posted on Townshippers.org and through the Association’s social media accounts.

Eligibility, Rules and Requirements

This essay challenge is open to all secondary students (public, private or homeschool) in the historical Eastern Townships region’s English-speaking community, who also meet the following criteria:

 Attend a primarily English language secondary school in the historical Eastern Townships, or if homeschooled, their education was predominantly English.

Graduating in the 2018/2019 school year;

 Accepted to a post-secondary institution (college/CÉGEP, vocational or technical training) in the Estrie. Please note winners will be required to provide proof of application before claiming their award.


If your essay is selected, you could win up to $500 to help with the cost of your first year of school. In addition to receiving a cash award, all winning entries will be published in Townshippers’ Association’s bi-annual magazine. The essay may also be used, in whole or in part, in other material produced by the association. Winner(s) will be notified in May and will be invited to accept their award at a future event. Details to be posted at Townshippers.org


Submissions will be judged by a group of volunteers based on the following criteria:

Creativity and originality

Effectiveness in communicating ideas and meeting the essay requirements

(part 1) identify an academic, social or personal challenge and your solution;
(part 2) your vision of what your life in the Townships will look like five years from now.

Consent and Release

When submitting an essay entry, you are agreeing that the essay is your original work. All entries become the property of Townshippers’ Association and will not be returned. While you retain the copyright to your work, you grant Townshippers’ Association and/or Make Way For YOUth permission to publish all or part of the submitted essay and to use the entrant’s name and photograph to publicize the winning entries, all without royalty or other consideration. You grant the association permissions to publish, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, store, translate, create derivative works from and otherwise use your essay entry. You will be required to provide your consent to the above along with your entry.

Entry Checklist

  •  Is your essay in English?
  •  Does the essay answer both of the parts (past accomplishments, future plans in the region)?
  •  Have you given your piece a descriptive title?
  •  Is your written essay  500 words long [but no more than 600 words],  or your video under three minutes?