The Phyliss J. McCarthy Scholarship


Excellence in Writing 

Learncurious is happy to announce the 2021 competition for the Phyliss J. McCarthy Scholarship for Excellence in Writing.

Scholarship Contest Details: 

Entries submitted using the form below will be accepted from February 14th, 2021 through July 23rd, 2021.


On August 6th, 2021, a grand prize scholarship winner ($1,000) and two runners up ($tbd) will be announced, and (pending author approval) their stories will be featured on the Learncurious website and blog.


Entrants must be high school juniors or seniors to win. Complete rules & details can be found here.

Thank you for honoring Phyliss's love for the written word.

Best of luck!

"We'll be assured of having more ideas and thoughts to exchange with others than we ever dreamed possible." ~ PJM

2021 Prompts: 

In 2000 words or fewer, respond to one of the following prompts: 


  • NARRATIVE:  Tell a story about a first-time experience & what was learned from it. 

  • META:  Recall a thoughtful question someone asked you and describe what makes it so memorable. 

  • WACKY: Complete the 29 Mad-Lib-style fill-in-the-blanks below, then craft a story that includes each of your chosen words at least once in no particular order.

____ (place that inspires nostalgia)

____ (singular noun)

____ (character from mythology or folklore)

____ (form of currency)

____ (childhood toy)

____ (type of body of water)

____ (subject in school)

____ (style of market)

____ (coordinating conjunction)
____ (item found on a nature hike)
____ (positive personality trait)
____ (action verb)
____ (number between 1934-2019)  

____ (type of logical fallacy)
____ (color)
____ (type of animal)
____ (plural proper noun)
____ (location)
____ (animal)
____ (verb ending in -ating)
____ (mode of transportation)
____ (plural noun that ends with an apostrophe)
____ (TV show)
____ (adverb)
____ (random word you like the sound of)
____ (contraction)
____ (flowering plant)
____ (adjective)
____ (something comforting)

 Need to brush up on vocab or punctuation


 Check out Learncurious's test-prep blog for tips, strategies, and memes. 


 The 2021 PJM Scholarship competition entry window has closed. 

 Thank you to everyone who submitted writing! 

 Prizewinners will be announced on August 6th, 2021.