Silver Pen Basics

  • The Silver Pen Writing Competition started in 2012 as a way to bridge the communication gap between high school seniors and our members.
  • Each community chooses an essay topic this year’s competition. Topics will not be released until the day Silver Pen is released to schools.
  • Members at each community will select three winners.
  • Winners will receive their awards at a special Silver Pen Ceremony. (pending due to COVID)


2021-2022 Announcement Coming Soon


1st Place$2,500
2nd Place$750
3rd Place$500

Am I Eligible?

Silver Pen is open to:

  • All high school seniors who live or attend school within 25 miles of the community they are applying to
  • Community employees and children of employees
  • Residents limited families – grand (great grand) children, nieces and nephews (grand nieces and nephews)

Essay Rules

  • Essay must be the applicant’s original work
  • Applicants may only enter one time. If you enter at more than one site you will be disqualified.
  • Essays must be a minimum of 1000 words and DOUBLE SPACED. (Please include a cover page and any necessary citations on a works cited page)
  • Quotations may be used sparingly and sources must be clearly identified
  • It is recommended that a teacher or professor reviews essay before submission

Frequently Asked Questions

Step 1: Home Office

Each application is received at the Home Office of Senior Living Communities and Wellmore in Charlotte, NC. The applications are carefully sorted into their respective communities. All personal identifiers (name, school, contact info, etc.) are removed from the applications. Instead, each application is given a unique number. The applications are sent to the participating locations for judging.

Step 2: Participating Locations

At the participating locations, the judges who are members at the retirement community read and select the winners. The judges will read all the essays without knowing the applicants’ names. This means that the winners are selected based on the quality and strength of their essay alone. Each community has different metrics for judging the essays.

Our judges are looking for:
  • Research, insight and perspective.
  • Theme development.
  • Inspirational quality.
  • Meaningful personal connection.
  • Creativity.
  • Clarity of ideas.

When you click the submit, you will see a green bar appear under the submit button that says your application submission was successful.

If your essay, transcript or any other files are larger than the attachment size limit (5mb), please email them to She will ensure that the attachments are placed in your application file.

Yes. If your school has a policy against releasing transcripts to students, the school can mail the transcript to Meghan Ruona.

3530 Toringdon Way
Suite 204
Charlotte, NC 28277

All applications are received by Meghan Ruona in the Home Office. She will number each application and redact personal information including name, contact info, school, and gender. The redacted applications will be sent to their respective communities.

Sorry, this scholarship opportunity is only open to high school seniors. The good news is that juniors can apply next year.


No. Each applicant is limited to one application.

No. Even if an applicant is close to two communities, they can only submit one application.

Stats at a Glance


Total scholarship money awarded since 2012


Total Scholarships Winners


Participating Locations


Winners selected last year


Average applications per community


Scholarship money awarded per community


Total applications received in 2020

Apply Now

We apologize if you have encountered any issues while trying to submit your Silver Pen application. Please apply using the email link and instructions stated below by Friday, February 12th at 11:59pm.

Attach all required documents in an email and send to Meghan Ruona:

Required Documents
  • Application Download Link
  • Essay
  • Transcript
  • Other Documents (optional)