Contest H: Editorial Writing


You have 32 hours to write an editorial. The story should be approximately 200 words. With the aid of computers this year, we are able to enforce this. Please do not write longer than the word limit.

Please use the information provided below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and/or the Associated Press style manual. Only entries submitted online will be accepted. No exceptions will be made to this rule.

When you submit, you will simply be submitting plain text. Formatting such as italics, bold and underline will not transfer. Also, paragraph breaks will not transfer. To show the judge your intention to create a paragraph break, please use this double-backslash symbol: //  For instance, a passage with two paragraph breaks would look like this:

The school board reversed the policy with an 11-1 vote. // “I disagreed with the decision, but I lost this time,” said board president Yvonnes Nulton. // The policy will go into effect at the start of next school year.



This contest is meant to be completed individually. Please refrain from seeking help from others while completing this contest.

Failure to follow these directions may result in disqualification from the contest without refund. Please read and follow carefully. 

  1. Read over the prompt presented below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story.
  2. While writing, you may use resources like the AP Stylebook, an online style guide or a dictionary/thesaurus. 
  3. Use whatever technology works best for you while writing your draft. This could be pencil and paper, your cell phone, your computer, etc. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with.
  4. Do not include your name or your school’s name anywhere on your final draft.
  5. Type up the final version of your story and submit it here.
  6. Please do not share your draft, notes or ideas about the prompt with others until the 32-hour window closes.

Here is a link to this contest’s judging rubric.


You are to write an editorial running in the next edition of the Sunflower News, your newspaper. The writer should determine the newspaper’s official opinion on the controversy and present an effective argument. The editorial should be approximately 200 words in length.


  • Name: Sunflower High School
  • Location: Clinton, Kansas
  • Mascot: Mighty Buffalo
  • Enrollment: 800 (grades 9-12)
  • School colors: yellow and brown
  • Yearbook: The Sunflower
  • Newspaper: Sunflower News

Contest Info

  • This is an on-site contest. 
  • Do not put your name on the entry. If you do, your entry will be disqualified.
  • Students must not request help or advice from any person other than the KSPA Executive Director Eric Thomas at [email protected], and that advice must be requested before the start of the contest.
  • All work must be solely that of the contestant.

Prompts will be visible at 3 p.m. April 17.

Contest H

Sunflower School District to start classes earlier next school year to make up for lost time

By Addy James, Sunflower News Staff Writer 

The Sunflower District School Board unanimously voted to start school a month earlier next year to make up for the instructional time lost due to the novel coronavirus outbreak 

The first day of school will now be on July 25, as opposed to the original start date of August 25. The district called off school for the rest of the year on March 23 in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which means the district lost three months of school. 

The board voted on the change in an emergency public digital Skype meeting last night. 

“The education we can provide for our students is just as important to us as health and safety,” Superintendent Dustin Moore said. “Now, it’s our time to provide the best learning opportunities and learning situations as possible, despite the circumstances. We feel that starting school earlier is the best way we can do so.” 

School Board President Marlene Waters said one of the most important reasons she supported the proposal to move the start time is because of the students who are not as fortunate as others. 

A recent survey conducted by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce found that 43% of Sunflower High School students are identified as at-risk students. Because of circumstances, at-risk students are less likely to graduate on time without intervention. Oftentimes they lack access to essentials, including consistent access to food and heat. 

School is often the only place they can find a safe environment, Waters said. 

“If those kids know that our building is their best option, they show up. That’s a great thing,” Waters said. “If school is closed for another four months, then where will they go? By moving school earlier, we are helping those who need help.” 

Despite the board’s vote, however, the coronavirus is continuing to spread throughout the country. As of March 26, there are 69,197 cases in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to coverage from ABC News. 

Dr. Mark Williams, chief doctor at Clinton Community Hospital, said the likelihood that the illness will spread twofold by the time the early start time will begin. 

“I think there was a failure to look into the circumstances by the school board,” Williams said. “It’s a generous proposal, but that’s completely ignoring the fact that this is an illness that 80% of our population could have. I don’t think moving a date is the best way to help our students.” 

Following the decision, senior Abby Michaels decided to launch a campaign against the decision, titled “Keep Students Safe.” Michaels is currently circulating a petition asking for the board to reconsider moving school earlier. The petition received 300 signatures in one night. 

“[The school] is not looking out for our safety,” Michaels said. “We shouldn’t have to risk our safety just because of some instructional time.” 

Moore declined to comment when asked about the risk of coronavirus spreading and Michaels’s newly-launched campaign. 

Others are concerned not just for safety reasons, but also with systemic issues regarding the proposal. 

Social studies teacher Rebecca Ingrid said though she appreciates the board’s efforts to help, one month is not going to make a huge difference. 

“As it stands, the proposal is only moving school earlier by one month,” Ingrid said. “That’s not a life or death difference for any student. A better move could have been to move it up by two months.” 

In response to similar concerns such as Ingrid’s, Moore said the board would have hoped to move school earlier, but had to take into account the district’s budget. Records obtained by Sunflower News show that the district currently owes $800,000 in debts. District staff are also receiving their usual pay, despite the cancellation of school and the looming amount of money due. 

“If our situation allowed me to, I would move school two months earlier, but the reality is I can’t,” Moore said. “Moving it by one month is the best we could do to help. It is my true hope that it does.  

Moving school earlier, however, also means cutting down summer vacation. Senior Joseph Croci said this is his biggest concern with the school board’s decision. 

“I work really hard in school and it saddens me that I won’t get that extra month to enjoy a break,” Croci said. 


Other students, such as freshman Rebecca Alberts, are happy with the additional class time. 

“The more I’m at home, the less I’m learning,” Alberts said. “I’d risk the virus to be at school instead of at home watching Netflix.”