Education Program

Thank you for a fantastic 2016! We will begin announcing our 2017 Festival dates in August

About Our Education Program

Creating a Global Classroom

Memphis in May International Festival believes that education is an integral part of our festival. International awareness is at the core of the Memphis in May International Festival’s commitment to the education of the Mid-South community, children and adults alike. Each year, the area’s youth immerse themselves in the culture of our honored country through our curriculum guide, student competitions, international exchanges, and more!

While Memphis in May International Festival fosters the education of an entire community, our focus begins on the youth of the area. Memphis in May’s goal: by the time a student graduates from high school, they will have had the opportunity to experience the customs and cultures of 12 different countries from around the world. Each year, Memphis in May accomplishes this goal through an extensive and diverse youth education program offered to every student and school in the Memphis and Shelby County area, including over 200 city and county schools, dozens of private schools, and a very active home school association.

Our award-winning education program would not be possible without the support and assistance of corporate partners and our international friends. Educators, artists, and writers in the local community come together and give their time to judge the Festival’s numerous educational contests. Memphis in May International Festival has been able to build relationships in the community that allow the education program to continue to grow, thrive and benefit the entire community.

Our Educational Program is proudly supported by TVA

International Teachers Conference

Offered FREE to all teachers and education professionals in Shelby County, this half-day seminar is designed to provide educators with information on how to utilize international studies to enhance classroom curriculum. Those in attendance can obtain professional development credits for their participation.

Thematic workshops will be presented and teachers will leave with new insights and cross-curricular resources.  Participants will gain knowledge about this year’s honored country so they can educate their students about the rich culture and history of Colombia while meeting common core standards.

Recently named by The Economist as their “country of the year” for 2016 and Lonely Planet’s No. 2 pick for travel in 2017, Colombia is not just an intriguing destination - it can also be a tool for you in the classroom.

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 • 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Teaching and Learning Academy 
2485 Union Avenue • Memphis, TN 38112

Register online here. 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.

Colombia Curriculum Guide

Download Full

Sections divided by grade level are available below:

Download K-2      Download 3-5
Download 6-8       Download 9-12

The 2017 curriculum guide is sponsored by the Shelby County Mayor's Charitable Foundation.

Educational Performances

International programming and announcements will be available beginning January 20, 2017. Check back again soon.

BlueCross BlueShield World Cargo Crate

Memphis in May offers a hands-on learning experience for Memphis students with its acclaimed World Cargo Crates. Each January through May, four wooden crates and their contents travel to numerous schools within the Memphis and Shelby County area. Think of the crates as a “children’s museum in a box,” offering unique items that offer insight into the culture of the honored country, such as maps, books, local crafts, sports items, musical instruments, clothing, and coins. 

Teachers may sign up to receive one of the traveling crates for their school, and each school receives the crate for an entire week, during which time students can examine the items and learn about our 2017 honored country, Colombia. The crates come complete with a World Cargo Guide that provides descriptions of each item and its cultural significance. 

Your reservation may be made for any week between January through May. The crate will be delivered to your school before noon on the Monday of your week, and picked up on the following Monday morning by 10:00 a.m., courtesy of Blue Sky Couriers.

Thanks for your interest in the World Cargo Crate, but all spots for 2017 have been filled. Feel free to look around and see what other ways you can educate your classroom on Colombia this year!

Education Newsletter

Download a copy of the Fall 2016 Education Newsletter here.

School Competitions

Bringing Colombia to Memphis Classrooms in 2017

While each of Memphis in May’s educational competitions are judged on differing criteria, every Memphis in May competition encourages a show of creativity and demonstrated knowledge of the honored country. Competitions are geared to specific age groups and grade levels, with involvement opportunities available for all grades.

Competitions are open to all students attending public, private, or home school within Shelby County, Tennessee. Applications are made available on the Memphis in May website as well as via mass mailings to schools. Judging committees are comprised of local educators, writers, and artists who kindly volunteer their time to examine entries. Competition winners are awarded certificates and cash prizes at an awards ceremony in the spring.

Microsoft Best Classroom Competition

All Grades and Subject Areas

Memphis in May would like to recognize the outstanding teachers that utilize our programs to integrate our curriculum into their classroom activities. Without the support of our teachers, students wouldn’t have the opportunity to study a different country every year. So, we want to honor you and thank you for supporting our programs. If you use any of our tools in your classroom, Memphis in May will induct you as an Official International Classroom and provide you with a certificate to hang in your classroom. The more programs you integrate into your classroom the better chance you have at winning the grand prize of $1000. This is our way of thanking you for supporting Memphis in May because we couldn’t do it without your help! Entry deadline is Friday, May 12th at 5:00 p.m.

Get started now. Register HERE.

PowerPoint Presentation Competition

6-12 Grade Students (Middle and High School Categories)

The PowerPoint Presentation Competition promotes design creativity and allows students to incorporate what they have learned about the honored country through overall presentation, graphic design, and written word. This competition is a wonderful tool to acquaint students with PowerPoint, an increasingly valuable program in the business world, all while exposing them to international culture. First, second, and third place winners will be chosen in two grade categories: 6-8 grade, and 9-12 grades.

The competition is open to students attending any public, private or home school within the Memphis metro area. Entry deadline is Friday, March 24th at 5:00 p.m.

Download Application HERE

Creative Writing Competition

4-12 Grade Students

The Creative Writing Competition promotes literary creativity and allows students to incorporate what they have learned about the honored country through the written word. Creative Writing Competition entries can include any type of literary, fictional or non-fictional work, including but not limited to poems, essays, short stories, plays, narratives, scripts and biographies.

The competition is open to students in grades 4-12 attending any public, private, or home school within the Memphis metro area. First, second, and third place winners will be chosen in three grade categories: Upper Elementary, 4th-5th grades; Junior, 6th-8th grades; Senior, 9th-12th grades. Entry deadline is Friday, March 24th at 5:00 p.m.

Enter online HERE or download the form HERE

Valero Children's Poster Competition

K-6 Grade Students

This competition promotes the creative artistry of students in grades K – 6. Patterned after Memphis in May’s Fine Art Poster Program, the student’s work must depict some aspect of the honored country through the medium of drawing and coloring. One student will become the Grand Prize winner, and his/her work will then be printed and sold by Memphis in May as the 2016 International Children’s Poster. The Grand Prize winner will sign and number 100 of the prints. Since there will be a limited number of signed and numbered prints, this lucky young artist’s poster has the potential of becoming a unique collector’s item. First, second, and third place winners will also be chosen in three grade categories:K - 2nd grades; 3rd - 4th grades; and 5th - 6th grades. Entry deadline is Friday, March 24th at 5:00 p.m.

Download Application HERE

2016 Grand Prize Winner - Meg He from Crosswind Elementary

BCBS World Cargo Crate Photo Contest

BlueCross BlueShield World Cargo Crate Photo Contest

In 2009, Memphis in May added a new school competition – the World Cargo Crate Photo Contest. This competition encourages teachers to use their camera to capture very special moments in their classrooms. The photographic entries portray special “learning moments” between the students, their teachers, and the unique items from the honored country. As most of these items are foreign to the students, their reactions of interest, surprise, and curiosity are clearly visible in the photos. The winning teacher receives the privilege of being the first to reserve the World Cargo Crate for the upcoming school year, along with a Memphis in May prize package. The winning teachers and students also get to see their pictures displayed on the Memphis in May website as “the face” of the World Cargo Crate for the next year.

To Enter the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee World Cargo Crate Photo Contest

Each classroom may enter up to five photos of their students with the World Cargo Crate items. Each entry must also provide the following information: teacher’s name and title, school name, school phone number, school address, teacher’s evening phone number and email address (Teachers have the option of also submitting a title for each photo.). The contest is open to any public or private elementary, middle, or high school within Shelby County. All photos and accompanying information must be digital and either emailed to: or mailed/brought on a CD to:
BCBS World Cargo Crate Photo Contest
56 S Front St.
Memphis, TN 38103

Entry deadline is 5:00pm on Friday, May 19, 2017.

One entry of a maximum five photos allowed per teacher/classroom.

Learn more about the World Cargo Crate and request one for your school here.

Congratulations to Ingrid Bolding at Balmoral Ridgeway Elementary for winning the 2016 BlueCross BlueShield World Cargo Crate Photo Contest! (photos by Ingrid Bolding)

Teacher Information:
Ingrid Bolding ESL teacher K-5
Balmoral Ridgeway Elementary
5905 Grosvenor Avenue
Memphis,TN 38119

Sedgwick International Teacher Competition

All Grades and Subject Areas

Now teachers have the chance to win alongside their students! Whether you always celebrate the honored country with Memphis in May, or whether you are considering incorporating Memphis in May into your classroom for the first time, this competition is for you! Memphis in May will recognize the teachers with the most outstanding “global classrooms,” teachers who utilize international programming to supplement their curriculum and introduce a foreign culture to their students.

For questions or information about any of our International Education Competitions, please email

Our Educational Program is proudly sponsored by TVA