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The Phyliss J. McCarthy Scholarship


Excellence in Writing 

LearnCurious is happy

to announce the

2023 competition

for the

Phyliss J. McCarthy



Excellence in Writing

Scholarship Contest


Entries submitted using the form below will be accepted from March 31st, 2023 through July 23rd, 2023.


On August 6th, 2023, 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

2023 Prompts: 

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


  • NARRATIVE: Bring characters from mythology to life in a story detailing an event from your own life. You may choose characters from any culture’s legends (ex. Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, etc) or mix and match to strike the balance of personalities needed for your story to feel most true to your experience.     * (In the “anything to add” box in the entry form, please outline the event in your life you are describing if it might be unclear from the story you submit).   

  • META: If / when you become a parent, what is something you wish to teach or provide to your child(ren)? 

  • WACKY: Complete the 11 Mad-Lib-style fill-in-the-blanks below, then craft a piece of poetry or prose that includes both a secret message* as well as each of your chosen words at least once (in no particular order):

  ___ (something inherited)

  ___ (item seen in nature)
  ___ (random word you like the sound of)
  ___ (type of weather)
  ___ (specific texture)

  ___ (color)

  ___ (type of body of water)
  ___ (plant or animal)

  ___ (specific scent or flavor)

  ___ (emotion)

  ___ (something you love)

*Note: You may choose to include your secret message (or a hint to it) in the 'Anything you'd like to add?' box in the submission form below. Or not.

Happy Writing! :) 

 Need to brush up on vocab or punctuation


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

Application Form

This year's winners are now featured here!

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