Now in its ninth year, the Katie DeCubellis Memorial Foundation is holding its annual writing contest, open to students in grades 9 through 12 throughout Rhode Island.
This year’s writing theme is the impact of economic turmoil. There is no fee to enter the contest and writers may submit as many different works as they would like to.
A drunk driver killed DeCubellis in October of 1999, when she was just 13 years old. DeCubellis and her friend’s mother, Marsha Bowman, were both killed in the accident. The Katie DeCubellis Memorial Foundation carries on her legacy by promoting youth leadership, supporting education and generating public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and substance abuse.
In their essays, students are asked to create a situation or relate an event that demonstrates how an economic crisis impacts families, causes increased social pressure and leads to poor decision making.
“After our daughter Katie died at the hands of a drunken driver, we wanted to find a way to carry on her legacy and keep her spirit alive,” said Meg DeCubellis in a press release. “As the years progressed we were fortunate enough to receive an outpouring of support and the writing contest is one way for us to give back to others and also raise awareness on important topics.”
Entries must be postmarked by March 2 and submitted by mail to the following address: KDMF Creative Writing Contest, c/o Joel S. Chase, 300 Metro Center Boulevard, Suite 150A
Warwick, RI 02886. Students may enter short stories, essays or personal narratives. Each submission must be at least 250 words.
To date, the Memorial Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships, prizes and donations. They also donated $50,000 to the Narragansett Library, dedicating the children’s room in Katie’s honor in an effort to support education and the services the library provides to the community. The KDMF has pledged $100,000 to support construction of a Student-Athlete Development Center at the University of Rhode Island. The grant will specifically support establishment of the Academic Advising and Counseling Center, one of three components of the Center that will support the various facets of the KDMF mission and objectives. Additionally, the Memorial Foundation fought to lower the blood alcohol driving limit to .08 in Rhode Island.
This year, Rhode Island native and New York Times best selling author Ann Hood has volunteered to serve as a celebrity judge. Hood is the author of “The Knitting Circle,” and the DeCubellis family said they are honored to have her support.
“We are truly excited and appreciative to Rhode Island native, Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle, for agreeing to serve as the judge for the annual writing contest,” Executive Director John DeCubellis said in the release. “It is a tremendous honor that such an accomplished and acclaimed writer is willing to take time out of her busy schedule to give back to her community and support other aspiring writers, while at the same time raising awareness about the KDMF and its efforts.”
Meg and John DeCubellis continue their tour of speaking engagements, addressing students about the dangers of drunk driving. Together, they have spoken to over 100,000 middle school, high school and college students, and parents, law enforcement officers and military personnel throughout the country.
A ceremony will be held on May 7 at 7 p.m. at the Warwick Mall to announce this year’s winners. Professionally created posters with the winners’ names and writing entries will remain on display at the mall during the week following the ceremony.
For more information about the contest visit the Foundation’s website at www kdmf.org.