Thursday, November 13, 2008

Essay Contest - Being an American

The Question: What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American? Trace the enduring importance of this value throughout the American story by discussing: a Founding document that reflects this value; a figure from American history who embodies this value; and ways you can personally put this value into practice.

The Prizes: 180 prizes will be awarded totaling nearly $200,000. Top prize winners will win $5,000 cash and a trip to Washington, D.C. for an Awards Gala and Weekend! The two schools with the greatest percentage of eligible students participating will receive a full set of Bill of Rights Institute curriculum. This prize will be based upon the number of eligible student participants per school as noted during the essay submission process. The retail value of this prize will not exceed $450.

Submitting an Essay: Our teacher-only submission of high school student essays began on September 2, and ends December 1, 2008. For detailed rules, click here. Essays are limited to 750 words and a sponsoring teacher is required to submit the student’s essay for him or her.

Eligibility: The Contest is open to all United States citizens or legal residents who are students (1) in Grades 9-12 attending public, private, religious, and charter schools but who are no older than 19 as of the end of the Contest Period (December 1, 2008), (2) enrolled in a GED or correspondence school program but who are no older than 19 as of the end of the Contest Period, or (3) attending a home school program who are no younger than 12 as of the beginning of the contest period and no older than 19 as of the end of the Contest Period.

I give a participative scholarship workshop at the local library and encourage our students (young and adult) to write outside of course assignments which allows them to build what we refer to as their "Me Folio". I encourage them to build a collection documenting every positive accomplishment from the best reader in 3rd grade, years selected to honor rolls, student council positions to community services. The workshop requires students to use the computers to create, share, and modify Google Docs, share knowledge on scholarship search engines, and explore opportunities from corporations, local agencies, and personal networking.

Keeping these documents available through Google Docs allows the students to quickly access information if they are completing applications for extra-curricular activities, college, and job applications. Reviewing their personal writing styles allows the students to see how they improve, how to self assess, and with Google Docs sharing capability an opportunity to have mentors and community leaders to provide assistance.

Being An American Essay Contest Rules and Regulations
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