The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF), in collaboration with NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), invites 7th to 12th grade students to submit an original essay about African-American contributions to the country’s maritime heritage.

“NMSF is proud to launch this initiative, which seeks to expand students’ understanding of how our nation’s rich history is tied to the ocean and celebrated through our national marine sanctuaries,” said Jason Patlis, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Entries to the Voyage to Discovery Essay Contest will be accepted through April 15. Teachers and parents are asked to encourage student participation.

Two winners – one high school student and one middle school student – will be selected. The high school student winner will receive a $1,500 prize for post-secondary education. The middle school student winner will receivea $500 prize for continuing education.

“The Voyage to Discovery Essay Contest is part of a broad NOAA initiative to build public awareness about the legacy of African-American maritime heritage,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “This contest offers all students an opportunity to enhance their writing and analytical skills while they learn about the continuing, historic contributions of African Americans in
the security, stability and prosperity of our nation.”

Entries will be judged on originality, clarity, and content. More information on the contest, including how to enter and a complete set of rules, can be found at

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