Rural Voices Youth Contest

Rural Voices contest logoCongratulations to the 2019-2020 Rural Voices Youth Contest winners!

  • Jake Toole, Washington County High School
  • Julisa Wolf, Ell-Saline High School

View the 2019-2020 winning entries.

The Rural Voices contest is sponsored by the North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC), Beloit, Kansas, to engage the youth of North Central Kansas in thoughtful reflection on rural Kansas and to promote a discussion among citizens based on their insights. More than $24,000 has been awarded to high school seniors from around the region since the contest began in 2006.

The next contest deadline will be December 1, 2020. Check back in the fall for details on the 2020-2021 Rural Voices Youth Contest.

2019-2020 Contest Theme – “Rural Kansas…Rural by Choice”

The NCRPC invited high school seniors in North Central Kansas to prepare an original essay or video based on this year’s contest theme of “Rural Kansas…Rural by Choice.” Entries were to address the following:

Opportunity can be created no matter where a person lives. Many young people and entrepreneurs are making the choice to stay or return to their rural community to live, work, and prosper. What can be done in your community or in the region to encourage people to want to move or return there? What challenges must be overcome to encourage others to choose rural?


  • A one-time cash award of $850 will be made to the top two entries.
  • Winning entries will be published on the North Central Regional Planning Commission website (
  • Winners will be recognized with the John R. Cyr Rural Voices Award. Cyr served for 22 years as NCRPC Executive Director.
Eligibility Criteria

Eligible: The contest is open to any senior in high school who lives in and/or attends a public or private high school whose district falls within the primary 12-county NCPRC service area* — including the counties of Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Marshall, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, Saline and Washington. Home school students in this same area may also enter.
*A student is eligible to enter if any portion of their school district’s official boundaries falls within the 12-county NCRPC service area.

Not Eligible: NCRPC employees and their immediate family members may not participate.

The contest allows one entry per person. This could include one of the following:

  • Individual written entry
  • Individual video entry
  • Team video entry