Students in rural US schools can try for cash prizes in the 2013 National Rural Education Foundation Essay Contest.
Two elements make the NREF contest particularly attractive. First, the contest has an unusually long lead time. Deadline is September 1, 2013.
Second, the pdf containing entry information includes a rubric for evaluating the entries. That allows a classroom teacher to choose essays to enter that best meet the contest criteria.
The contest is for three clusters of students: grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. A single nonfiction essay topic is used for students at all levels:
Think of people past and present that attended your school. Think of something that you want others to know about them.
Essays must have a thesis/main idea (the directions call it a topic) supported by accurate facts. The difficulty for writers will be to find something significant to assert about their chosen individual’s impact or influence.
Students couldn’t write “Judge Gavel left an endowment to Bugtussle High School.” That’s a statement of fact and leaves nothing else to say.
They could, however, say, however, “Judge Gavel enabled Bugtussle High School to maintain high academic standards through difficult economic times.”
Entries from students grades 3-5 can be up to 250 words; those for students grades 6-12 can be up to 500 words.
The first prize in the elementary cluster is $250. First prizes of $400 will be awarded in both the middle/junior high cluster and the high school clusters.