Category Archives: Events & Contests

Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest

Taken directly from:

The Virginia Frank Memorial Writing contest is held each year in the spring to recognize the creative writing talent of our area students. This contest, sponsored by the Friends of Omaha Public Library, recognizes the top three winners from each grade. Each winner receives a cash prize and certificate, is recognized in a ceremony at the library on April 23, and has their story published on the library website. The school libraries of each winning student are also recognized with a matching cash prize.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Students must be in 5th to 8th Grade, and live in Douglas, Sarpy, Washington, Dodge or Saunders County.
  • Students may be enrolled in public, private, parochial, or home school.
  • Essays must be typed and no longer than 750 words.
  • Include a cover page with the title of the story, writer’s name, address, zip code, phone number, current grade, and name of school.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • All entries become the property of Friends of Omaha Public Library (FOPL) and may be featured by Omaha Public Library on its website or social media
  • Entries must be original fiction featuring a character from a book you have enjoyed. Identify the book and author from which your character originated in the title or subtitle of your story.
  • Only one entry per contestant will be accepted.
  • Please contact the EY coordinator in your building with questions or help with submitting your story. Entries are due at the end of Feb 2108.


  • First ($100), second ($50) and third place ($25)
  • Prizes will be awarded to the top three winners from each grade.
  • The school library of the winning students will be recognized with matching cash prizes.

Read the winning stories from the 2017 Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest. Check out our 2017 grade 7 winner from Westside Middle School! 

About Virginia Frank

The Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest began in 2003 and is named in honor of a longtime Friends of Omaha Public Library volunteer. Virginia Frank was a Central High and UNO graduate. She acquired a master’s degree from Brown University and taught English literature and creative writing at UNO for many years. Her passion for students and young people inspired everyone around her, and her enthusiasm encouraged many students to explore their creative writing talents. Frank volunteered thousands of hours with the Friends of OPL to help ensuring a bright future for our public libraries.

Calling all doodlers!

It’s time to start sketching, because this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest will be open soon.

K-12 students are invited to bring their imagination to life in a doodle of the Google logo, using any medium they choose. The winner’s artwork will be featured on the Google homepage  @

Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.

Check out the contest page to see past winners and to get some ideas! Start working on some sketches.

Check for contest details.







Reading EnRichment Contests to Check out

List of Writing Contests that are possibilities

Anne Frank Essay Contest – Grades 5 – 8 – Entry due ___________________

Metro Reading Council Writing Contest – Grades K – 12  Entry due ___________________

Americanism Essay Contest – Grades 5 – 8 Entry due ___________________

Totem Head’s Story Contest-Categories for ages 8 and under all the way up to 18 years-Entry due ___________________

Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest – Grades 5 – 8 – Entry due ___________________

Money Confident Kids Writing Contest

Learn about spending, saving, and setting smart financial goals by participating in this Money Confident Kids Website

Essay Prompt:

Discover and describe a true story of a time when your parent or guardian set a financial goal and then Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.20.36 PMachieved it. Include: the goal; a description of the spending and saving choices that were made to achieve the goal; and lessons that you can apply to your own future financial decisions

Here’s how it works:
1. Read an issue of Money Confident kids- Click here for an issue of Money Confident Kids

2. INTERVIEW a parent or guardian about money

3 . ASK about a time when he or she set a financial
goal and then made saving and spending choices to
achieve it.
4. WRITE a 200 – to 250 -word essay (based on your
interview) that describes the true story of achievement,
and what lessons you can apply to your own future
financial decisions.
Optional: Consider including a photo or drawing
with your essay!

5. ****CONTEST CLOSED*******
Submit to the EY coordinator in your building by  October 1st,  2015

Click here for more information about the process, prizes and to find the entry form for the contest.

If you read the magazine, conduct an interview, and write an essay and would like to enter it in this contest, please fill out the entry form and send it to the EY coordinator in your school by Oct 1st. If you need help with getting the permission form printed out, or any part of this contest, please contact the EY coordinator at your school.

Contest Presented by T. Rowe Price

2015-16 Seminars, Contests, and Events

We are excited to offer a variety of opportunities this year.  All students are welcome to attend unless otherwise noted.  There will always be some sort of “ticket” that needs to be completed first.  The “ticket” might be a qualifying test or a project you develop.

Westside Schools often get invited to special contests (math contests, quiz bowls, etc.)  Those contests are not listed below, but make sure to check this site often for updates!

April 28: Science Olympiad-Ticket Due Tuesday, April 12 (Grades 3-4)

April 29: Film Seminar Due Friday, April 15 (Grade 6)

May 2:  Art Seminar Due Tuesday April, 12th (Grades 4-6)

May 7 (Saturday): Coder Dojo 9:30-11:30 at Westgate Elementary  Topic: TBD


September 3: Portfolio Pow-Wow (Tier II and III identified learners)

September 9: Coding Seminar (Grades 4-8)

September 10: German Seminar (Grades 5-6)

September 19: (Saturday) Coder Dojo (Grades K-6)

September 29: Invention Convention (Grades 5-6)

September 30: Invention Convention (Grades 2-4)

October 26 & 27: School Spelling Bees

October 29: Taking the Road Less Traveled @ Iowa State (WMS and WHS Girls)

November 11: Music with Andy Hackbarth (Grades 5-8)

November 17: Path to Personalization (Grades 4-6)

November 20: District Spelling Bee

November 21: (Saturday) Coder Dojo (Grades K-6)  FULL!

November 24: Quiz Bowl

December 2: Explore Computer Science Day at UNO (Grades 5-6)

December 14 & 15: School Geography Bees

January 20: Extreme Math Day for Grade 5  (Ticket Due January 8)

January 21: Elementary STEMinar (Grades 4 – 6) (Ticket Due January 8)

February 6 (Saturday): Coder Dojo 9:30-11:30 at Westgate Elementary  Topic: Bitsbox

March 10: Battle of the Books (click here for the book list)

March 11: District Speech Contest

March 12 (Saturday): Coder Dojo 1:00-3:00 at Westgate Elementary  Topic: Unplugged Coding Activities

March 22:  Westside/Ralston Battle of the Books

  • Congratulations to the top 4 teams from Westside’s BOTB competition on March 10.  They will compete against Ralston’s top 4 teams on March 22.
    • Rockbrook:  Rainbow Flying Bananas
    • Swanson:  The Noble Narwhals
    • Sunset Hills:  The Book Barbarians
    • Oakdale: Lightning Bolts

April 9 (Saturday): Coder Dojo 9:30-11:30 at Westgate Elementary  Topic: TBD


2014-2015 Battle of the Books

After careful consideration, the EY team has decided to revise Battle of the Books so that it is less competitive and more about critical thinking.  We still hope to instill a love of reading, but make the responses to the literature more meaningful.  The students will still be encouraged to read the 20 designated books.  When they complete a novel, students will be able to choose from a list of activities to complete.  Their products will be added to a Battle of the Books keynote that they will work on throughout the year.  The EY coordinators will go into the classrooms during E/I time in the next couple weeks to show students how to download the keynote and activities onto their iPads.  This keynote product will be part of their ticket into the district Battle of the Books seminar which will be held on Friday, March 13th, 2015.  During this day long event, we will have several different activities for the students to participate in such as a quiz bowl, an author and/or illustrator visit, and several other creative contests.  All activities will be a celebration of their accomplishment and love of reading.

If parents, teachers, or librarians are still interested in a traditional Battle of the Books competition, they are welcome to organize it.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. Do I need to be in EY to participate?

A. No, any 3rd through 6th grade student who loves to read may participate.

Q. Do I need to form a team?

A. While the seminar won’t require a team, students are still encouraged to meet as a group and discuss the books.  In the past, some schools have held discussions during lunch or after school.

Q. Do I have to read all the books to participate?

A. In order to be invited to the seminar, students must read and complete an activity for 10 of the 20 books.  The activities and keynote can be found on our wiki (link below).  NOTE: While reading all 20 books is not mandatory, students who read all of the books may have a better chance at the quiz bowl competition during the seminar.

The 2014-15 book list and student resources can be found on our wiki at:

2014-15 Geography Bee

During the week of November 10, 4th through 6th grade teachers will administer the qualifying geography bee test in the classroom.  The top 10-14 students will compete in a school geography bee which will be run a little different this year.

On Tuesday, December 9, Hillside, Westbrook, Swanson, Loveland, and Sunset will have their geography bees at Underwood Hills on 90th and Western.

On Friday, December 12, Westgate, Paddock Road, Oakdale, Rockbrook, and Prairie Lane will have their geography bees at the Community Conference Center (CCC) on 108th and Grover.

School vehicles will be used to transport the students to Underwood Hills and the CCC where they will compete in the geography bee.  Parents and family are welcome to attend.

Below is the tentative schedule for each day.

December 9 at Underwood Hills

  • Hillside 9:15-10:15
  • Westbrook 10:30-11:30
  • Swanson 11:45-12:45
  • Loveland 1:00-2:00
  • Sunset 2:15-3:15

December 12 at CCC

  • Westgate 9:15-10:15
  • Paddock 10:30-11:30
  • Oakdale 11:45-12:45
  • Rockbrook 1:00-2:00
  • Prairie Lane 2:15-3:15