5th Grade Creative Writing Contest

What is the annual 5th Grade “Celebrate America” Creative Writing Contest?

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Southern California Chapter is a proud supporter of the American Immigration Council’s (AIC) annual “Celebrate America” creative writing contest for 5th grade students across the United States.  

The Chapter sponsors the local contest, which draws participation from hundreds of 5th grade students from both private and public schools across Southern California.  With the writing prompt of, “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants,” students are invited to discuss their personal immigration experience, learn about and share family histories or write about the broader questions of the challenges facing immigrants in a new land.  

The creativity forms of entries received range from essays, to short stories and poetry. Local winners are honored an annual awards luncheon each summer and the top winner’s entry is entered into the National Competition sponsored by the American Immigration Council where entries are reviewed by a distinguished panel including U.S. senators, award-winning authors and noted journalists.  Winning entries are to be printed in the Congressional Record. The winner and two guests receive an all expenses paid trip to The Council’s Annual Benefit Dinner where he/she is honored and reads his/her winning entry aloud. For additional information about this exciting contest, please visit the AIC’s website at  

2016-2017's Contest: And the winners are…

AILA Southern California Chapter received a record breaking number of entries from 5th graders across Los Angeles County and Orange County. All entries were extremely thoughtful, inspirational, and uniquely compelling.For this reason, it is always a tough task to select only a few to win special awards and recognition as all students deserve praise for sharing their stories and creativity.  

AILA Southern California Chapter liaisons, attorneys Jennifer Lin and Miho Murai devoted their time to visiting classrooms, collecting these stories, reviewing them and preparing for the annual awards banquet.This year’s Annual Awards luncheon for the local competition was held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California.  

This year's Annual AIC Benefit took place in June in New Orleans, Louisiana . The winner received a travel stipend, engraved plaque, his/her winning entry printed in the Congressional Record and a flag flown over the Capitol in his/her honor. Local and national judges are looking for student writing that is original, thoughtful and speaks to the Council’s mission to educate the public about the benefits of immigration to our society. 


This Year: How to Get Involved

We are always looking for volunteers to go out into our local schools to help encourage children to participate and to work with our liaisons to help prepare for the awards banquet and help raise donations. Sponsorship opportunities are also available and welcomed.  For details, please contact our Chapter Liaisons: 

Essay Contest Jenna Robinson - 

Please also visit the American Immigration Council site for more information