NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest


About the Contest

Since 1996, NIAF has proudly joined 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.

Three outstanding essays are chosen from amongst the submissions to win a cash prize. The first-place winner receives a $1,200 prize and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington to read the essay at the Columbus Day event in Washington.  The second-place winner receives $500 and the third-place winner receives $300.

2023-2024 Topic

The submission period for the 2022-2023 essay contest is now closed and we will begin accepting submissions for the 2023-2024 contest on October 1, 2023. All 2022-2023 entrants will be notified of their status on June 15, 2023 via email.


Program Details

The contest is open to students in grades 9 through 12 in public, private, or parochial schools, or to those who are home schooled. This contest is conducted without regard to race, religion, gender, or national origin.

For more information regarding the specific criteria of the essay contest, please check back on October 1, 2023.

Important Dates

All submissions must be sent as PDF or Word Document format via e-mail to

Submission Period for 2023-2024 Contest Begins: October 1, 2023

Deadline: March 15, 2024 11:59pm EST

Notification: June 15, 2024 5:00 pm EST