Volunteer Square and Hearst are announcing the seventh annual High School Essay Contest. The essay contest invites high school students in Connecticut to share why volunteering and making an impact on their community is important to them.

Each year, this contest yields a record number of submissions from towns across Connecticut.

This year, the hope is to expand the reach through the state by promoting the contest during the month of October with stories, tips, and highlights about teen volunteering.

The mission is to inspire young people to get involved in their communities.

To enter the contest, tell us, in 500 words or less, “Why is volunteering and making an impact on your community important to you?”

To be eligible to participate, you must be a high school student, ages 13 to 21 years old. The contest is open to all Connecticut public and private high schools.

Essays will ONLY be accepted between Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, through Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.

To submit your essay, email it to essays@volunteersquare.com. Essays received before or after these dates will not be considered.

Judges from Hearst Connecticut Media and Volunteer Square will select a first-, second- and third-place winner based on the quality of the essay and how well it addresses the given topic. Winners will be notified by email by Nov. 15.

Prizes include Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones valued at $700 for first place; Polaroid - Google Chrome Book valued at $450 for second place and $300 for the third-place winner.

VolunteerSquare.com is a free tool that connects volunteers with nonprofit organizations in Connecticut. The organization is committed to providing programs for young people and encouraging high school students to get involved in their communities.