NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest Now Open


Elena Isella | NIAF
202-939-3108 (o)
412-596-5848 (c)

(Washington, D.C. – September 30, 2022) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is now accepting essays for the NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest. Since 1996, NIAF has worked with the National Christopher Columbus Association (NCCA) to sponsor an annual national essay contest on a topic related to Christopher Columbus for high school students throughout the United States. The first-place winner will receive a $1,200 prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to read his or her essay at NCCA’s annual Columbus Day Celebration.

“NIAF is honored to partner with the NCCA and support the national essay contest to educate the general public on Columbus’ pivotal role in America’s history,” said NIAF President Robert Allegrini. “The Christopher Columbus Essay Contest is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the younger generation by encouraging students, regardless of their heritage, to think about the importance of preserving and promoting Columbus’ legacy.”

NIAF wishes to congratulate and recognize the winners of the 2022 contest: John Hill of Spring, Texas (first place), Marco Buglione of Irvington, N.Y. (second place), Gianna Cruz Morgan Hill, Calif. (third place).

The theme for the essay contest is: When reflecting on Columbus’ legacy, we tend to think about his impact in America. What were the effects of the discovery of America on Italy? How did Columbus’ voyages serve as the starting point for Italian American relations?

Essay submission guidelines:

  • A word count of between 800 and 1,200 words
  • Essay will be judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness.
  • Students must include the following: a title page with an original title, name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, school, grade, and word count.
  • MLA formatted citations and bibliography
  • Cite three print and/or non-internet sources

Essay deadline:

  • All submissions must be sent via e-mail to by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 15, 2023. Students will be notified by 5 p.m. ET on June 15, 2023.

First, second, and third-place national winners are selected after judging on a national level. To qualify for first place, the winner must be able to go to Washington, D.C., to read his or her winning essay at the Christopher Columbus Celebration. The first-place winner will receive a $1,200 prize in addition to paid lodging and transportation to Washington, D.C., in October for both the winner and one parent or guardian to attend the NCCA’s annual Columbus Day Celebration and read their essay. The second-place national winner receives $500, and the third-place winner receives $300.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. NIAF is the nation’s premier Italian American organization serving as a bridge between the United States and Italy, strengthening mutual understanding through governmental, economic and cultural ties. Education is the core of our mission as the Foundation provides scholarships and grants to institutions and high-achieving students to further their education in all fields and connect to their heritage. To learn more, visit

The National Christopher Columbus Association’s (NCCA) mission is to foster an environment for an open and academically sound dialogue on Christopher Columbus and the events and accomplishments that surround his name. Since 1989, NCCA has been responsible for the annual Columbus Day event in Washington, D.C., which began in 1912. The Association is governed by a board of directors elected by its general membership, with officers chosen annually by the board. To learn more, visit