The GUA 2024 Submission Form is Closed!

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Growing Up in America


DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM PST


We live in a world that is constantly changing, and every day, the changes seem to come more quickly than before. Over the past 50 years, we have witnessed significant changes in our community – including the invention of the internet, widespread use of social media, the election of our first Black president and first woman vice president, increased focus on space exploration, climate change and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), to name a few.  While some of these changes have been positive, there is still much room for growth in other areas. As AACI turns 50 this year and we celebrate the past while looking into the future, we invite you to personally reflect on what lies ahead when you consider your future in the next 50 years. What changes and advancements do you hope to see? Please reflect and share your vision for your future self and your future community.

Use the questions below to help spark ideas. You do not have to answer any/all of these specific questions.

  • What do you want your life to look like in 50 years? Where do you see yourself living, and what kind of family do you imagine having? What would your occupation be? What accomplishments might you have completed? 
  • Which family traditions do you plan to continue celebrating 50 years from now? Will you incorporate any new traditions? 
  • What parts of the world will you have explored? 
  • Reflect on how your community has changed over the past 50 years. What do you hope to see continue to grow and change, and what would you like to remain the same?  
  • What message would you like to send to your future self? How can you ensure that your future self is someone you will be proud of? 

Please note: Participants must live and/or attend a school within the following counties: Santa Clara, San Francisco, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, Napa, Alameda, or San Mateo County.

Prize Information

One (1) $1,000 Lance Lew Grand Prize winner*

Nine (9) $500 Best in Class winners

Ten (10) Honorable Mentions

Winners of the Best in Class awards will be chosen from each grade/entry category. Nine winners will receive a $500 award each, while one Best in Class winner will be selected to receive this year’s Grand Prize and a $1,000 award. Additionally, ten Honorable Mentions, one from each category, will be recognized for their work. All winners will have their entries showcased on the AACI website and will have the opportunity to be featured on NBC Bay Area.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Students of all ethnic backgrounds are invited to submit entries.
  • You must be in grade K through 12.
  • You must live in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano or Sonoma County.
  • If you have won in previous years, you cannot submit an entry unless you are in a different grade/entry category now. The grade categories are grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. The entry categories are Art, Essay and Video. Grand Prize winners from previous years will not be eligible to receive the grand prize again.
  • Contestants cannot win a prize in more than one category (ex. Art and Essay).
  • Children of contest judges or screeners are ineligible to submit entries.

Entry Guidelines

All entries will be submitted online this year! Submission forms will open on March 1, 2024, at 8 AM. When submitting, please do not include any identifying information such as your name in your artwork, essay or video, as judging requires all submissions to be anonymous.

Art (K-12)
Format: File must be no more than 250 MB and be in .jpg, .png, or .pdf.

Materials and Media: Anything two-dimensional. All paints, crayons, colored pencils, markers, photographs, computer generated graphics etc. are accepted. No sculptures, pop-ups, or framed canvases please. Please do not include writing on your art.

Essay (K-12)
Format: Entry must be no more than 250 MB and be in either .pdf or .word format.

Length: 500 words MAXIMUM. Hand-written essays are accepted but must be scanned and submitted online. Please note that you do not have to answer every question in your essay.

Video (6-12)
Format: Videos must be MAXIMUM 1 minute long, and the file size should be no larger than 300MB. The accepted file formats are .avi, .mov, and .wmv.

For GROUP submissions in the Video Category, the groups are limited to a maximum of three members. Please refer to the FAQ section for submission guidelines.

Eligibility: Open ONLY to two grade categories (Grade 6-8 and Grade 9-12)

How to Submit Your Entry

All entries must be submitted online! Submission forms are closed for 2024.

Other Information

  • You may send ONLY one entry in each category of Art, Essay, and Video (Grade 6-8 and Grade 9-12 only). We will NOT accept more than one entry per category. Art is judged separately from essays, so please do not submit an entry that combines your essay with your art piece. Each entry must have a separate complete entry form.
  • Winning entries are selected based on creativity, originality and skill in the category. Winners are notified by the end of April.
  • Submitting an entry to the contest is considered a grant of license to AACI to use the materials in any manner, including the creation of derivative works without payment of a royalty. AACI is a tax-exempt non-profit organization and will only use these materials to further its charitable and educational mission.

Entries must be submitted by March 15, 2024, 11:59 PM PST. Entries will NOT be accepted by mail or fax.

Questions? Contact AACI at (408) 975-2075 or e-mail gua@aaci.org.