Listen to a Life (Legacy Project)
Contest rules: A young person 8-18 years old interviews an older
person over 50 years about their hopes and goals through their life, how they achieved goals and overcame obstacles, or how
dreams may have changed along the way. What life advice can the older person share? The person cannot be a parent, but he/she
can be a grandparent, older friend, mentor, neighbor, nursing home resident, etc. The
young person then writes a 300-word essay based on the interview.
· Entries must be 300 words or less and be a true story about an older person's life. The
judging committee isn't looking for a laundry list of dates and life facts. They’re not looking for a dialogue with
questions and answers. Rather, they are looking for an evocative
(inspires feelings or memories), creative story that captures the
essence of a person's life, or a critical moment or experience. Essays will be judged by a committee based on the following
criteria: 1/3 appropriateness to theme; 1/3 writing quality; and 1/3 content originality.
· Grand Prize = Lenovo ThinkCentre computer with $800 of software and an iPod Classic ++++
$25,000 of software for the school. 20 Runner-up prizes = $400 of software and
an iPod Shuffle. (see web site for details)
· Visit http://www.legacyproject.org/contests/winnersgp.html to read winning essays from past years.
· Prepare a list of questions before interviewing
your subject. (Take notes when you interview him/her.)
· To get the wheels of memory turning, try asking some of these questions:
o When and where were you born?
o What’s the greatest joy in life?
o Do you have a big regret?
o What’s one thing you always thought mattered, but really doesn’t?
o What’s love all about anyway?
o Where does God figure in things?
o What advice do you wish someone had given you earlier?
o What do you wish you didn’t know?
o Is there a key to your happiness?
o What’s your most cherished family tradition? Why is it important?
o What have you liked best about your life so far?
o What’s your happiest or proudest moment?
o What do you feel have been the important successes in your life? The frustrations?
o What’s the most difficult thing that ever happened to you? How did you deal with it?
o What do you think the turning points have been in your life? What were you like then?
o Are there times of your life that you remember more vividly than others? Why?
o What have been the most influential experiences in your life?
o Describe a person or situation from your childhood that had a profound effect on the way you look at life.
o If you were writing the story of your life, how would you divide it into chapters?
o What, if anything, would you have done differently in your life?
o What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were young?
o Over time, how have you changed the way you look at life/people?
o What advice did your grandparents or parents give you that you remember best?
o Do you have a philosophy of life? If
a young person came to you asking what’s the most important thing for living a good life, what would you say?
o How do you define a “good life” or a “successful life”?
o If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
o What would you like your children and grandchildren to remember about you?
o If you could write a message to each of your children and grandchildren and put it in a time capsule for
them to read 20 years from now, what would you write to each?
READ MORE ABOUT THE CONTEST AT