The Akron Symphony Orchestra is accepting submissions from high school students for its Stand Beside Her Essay Contest.

During the 2019-20 concert season, the Orchestra is celebrating the influential work of six women composers/artists as part of the Stand Beside Her project in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote.

The Stand Beside Her Essay Contest challenges students in grades 9-12 to write an original and creative essay about influential women composers from a provided list. The maximum word count is 1,000 with a minimum of 700, not including citations and bibliography. A list of composers is available at; students may also select a composer not on the list.

Essays will be judged on the demonstrated understanding of the subject matter, originality, and the quality of the writing. Winners will be notified by May 1.

A $500 prize will be awarded to the winner, who will also receive four complimentary tickets to the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s May 16 concert. Two runners-up will receive two tickets each to the May 16 concert. The winner, both runners-up, and their guests will also receive a backstage tour prior to the concert along with a reception in the Green Room at E.J. Thomas Hall.

Essays must be submitted no later than April 15. They can be no more than 1,000 words but must be a minimum of 700 words. Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count. Essays must be the original work of the student. Essays must describe the influence of a female composer, including how and why they made an impact on their community or the arts in general. Essays must have a minimum of three sources.

Students can either submit their essay online (preferred) at or by mail, postmarked by April 15 to Stand Beside Her Essay Contest c/o Akron Symphony Orchestra, 92 North Main St., Akron, 44308.

All students must complete and submit a registration form online for student and school information.

For details, email Development Manager Kimia Ghaderi at