AUGUSTA — The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council has opened its second annual Inclusion Awards Contest to all Maine high school juniors and seniors. This year’s contests will offer prizes for written essays and creative expressions in both visual arts, audio/visual media arts and short stories, poetry, or scripts, according to a news release from council.

Contest organizers ask students to address the question: “How does the full inclusion of individuals with Developmental Disabilities in all aspects of community life (school, work, recreation, etc.) benefit the community and its members?”

“Last year’s entries were very impressive in terms of their eloquence, their understanding of the issue and showcasing the compassion and personal experience students had with the issues of inclusion,” said Nancy Cronin, executive director of MDDC, according to the release. “We are excited to expand the ways people can express themselves on this topic by adding other artistic avenues this year.”

Contest deadline is Feb. 15, prizes range from $250-$1,000 for individual entries; $500 will be awarded to the teacher with the first-place winning student and $2,500 goes to the school with the most entries.

For contest rules and entry guidelines, visit maineddc.org or email [email protected].