Rules & Text

The thirtieth NEBRASKA HANDWRITING CONTEST will be held in early 2020 to promote legible handwriting as an effective means of communication.  Any Nebraska resident is eligible to participate, with prizes being awarded in four categories: ages 12 and under, ages 13 - 16, ages 17 - 49; and ages 50 and over.


  1. The text provided on this page should be written in any of the various styles of cursive handwriting rather than printed.  Each performance of writing will be judged as a whole according to ease of reading.  The writing should feature not only a fluent rhythmic movement but also a technically correct performance of specifications such as the slope, space, size, and shape of the letters.  The goal of the work is disciplined freedom of movement.
  2. The competitor can choose the paper and the writing instrument to use as long as the paper is 8 1/2" X 11".  The general layout of the entry (choice of margins and line spacing) will be taken into account along with overall neatness.
  3. Only one entry may be submitted by each competitor.  The competitor must write his or her name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address on the back of the entry, indicating age as of February 1, 2020.  Students should also write the name and address of their school and the name of their teacher.  Note:  teachers, please submit only the top three or four entries from your class after your own local judging.
  4. Entries may be submitted anytime after March 1, 2020, but must be received no later than March 31, 2020 at: NEBRASKA HANDWRITING CONTEST, Attention: Julie Agard, University of Nebraska at Kearney, College of Education, Kearney, NE 68849. All entries become the property of the Nebraska Handwriting Contest and will be retained with the right to use them in full or in part in exhibitions and/or publications.

The Sequel Bookshop of Kearney, Nebraska, will provide Nebraska winners a
First and Second Place Award for excellence in penmanship in each age category.

First Place - $25 Gift Certificate
Second Place - $15 Gift Certificate

Prizes to be awarded solely on the recommendations of the judges.
Award winners will be announced to the press and posted on the website by April 30, 2020

- In memory of Eva Hutson -


Text for Competitors Age 12 and Under:

The Boy & the Filberts

A Boy was given permission to put his hand into a pitcher to get some filberts. But he took such a great fistful that he could not draw his hand out again. There he stood, unwilling to give up a single filbert and yet unable to get them all out at once. Vexed and disappointed he began to cry.

"My boy," said his mother, "be satisfied with half the nuts you have taken and you will easily get your hand out. Then perhaps you may have some more filberts some other time."

Do not attempt too much at once.

An Aesop Fable

Text for Competitors Age 13 and Over:

My Antonia

The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept
as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.

By Willa Cather