Es­say con­test open to high school stu­dents na­tion­wide

Stu­dents, teach­ers el­i­gi­ble for cash prizes up to $5,000; $200,000 in prizes to be awarded

The Covington News - - Education -

High school stu­dents na­tion­wide are in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the 2008- 2009

“ Be­ing an Amer­i­can” Es­say Con­test, which ex­plores the rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship.

Ad­min­is­tered by the Bill of Rights In­sti­tute, a non­profit ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion in the Wash­ing­ton, DC area, the con­test of­fers cash prizes to­tal­ing more than $ 189,000 to both stu­dents and their teach­ers. Top prize win­ners and their teach­ers also re­ceive all- ex­penses paid trips to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

“ The ‘ Be­ing an Amer­i­can’ Es­say Con­test chal­lenges high school stu­dents to eval­u­ate Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship in light of our founders and our found­ing doc­u­ments, and by do­ing so, prom­ises to en­sure a con­tin­u­ing na­tional con­ver­sa­tion about what unites Amer­ica and its peo­ple,” said Bill of Rights In­sti­tute Pres­i­dent Vic­to­ria Hughes. “ We urge class­room teach­ers and school sys­tems across the coun­try to take ad­van­tage of this valu­able op­por­tu­nity and ex­plore the val­ues, he­roes and lega­cies that make our coun­try and cit­i­zens unique.”

The com­ing 2008- 09 school year will be the first year in which high schoolaged stu­dents from ev­ery state will be el­i­gi­ble to en­ter the con­test. The con­test be­gan in 2006- 07 in three states and ex­panded last year to 19 states and the District of Columbia. Over 17,000 stu­dents have par­tic­i­pated in the con­test to date.

To par­tic­i­pate, stu­dents are asked to share their thoughts on Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship by an­swer­ing the fol­low­ing ques­tion: “ What civic value do you be­lieve is most es­sen­tial to be­ing an Amer­i­can?”

The names of the top three prize win­ners in each of nine re­gions will be an­nounced at a spe­cial Wash­ing­ton, DC Awards Gala in the spring of 2009. The first place win­ners in each re­gion, and their spon­sor­ing teach­ers, will re­ceive $ 5,000 cash awards; sec­ond place win­ners $ 2,500 and third place win­ners $ 1,250. The winning stu­dents will ex­plore the na­tion’s capi­tol, meet con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can he­roes and na­tional leaders, and visit the Supreme Court, Na­tional Archives and other na­tional land­marks. Honor­able men­tion prizes of $ 250 will be awarded to 63 stu­dents, seven from each re­gion.

The “ Be­ing an Amer­i­can” Es­say Con­test has a ded­i­cated web site, www. Bein­gAnAmer­i­can. org, where teach­ers, par­ents and oth­ers can find com­plete rules and les­son plans, and is the only place where teach­ers can sub­mit their stu­dents’ es­says for con­sid­er­a­tion.

The dead­line for con­sid­er­a­tion is Dec. 1. Win­ners will be an­nounced Spring 2009.

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