TENNESSEE SECRETARY OF STATE
The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office is kicking off the second annual civics essay contest, aimed at encouraging students to be actively engaged citizens.
The theme of this year’s essay contest is citizenship. Student winners will receive a TNStars 529 Program College Savings scholarship of $100, $250, or $500 in addition to a trip to the State Capitol.
“The essay contest was developed to encourage greater civics understanding in Tennessee’s future leaders,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said in a press release announcing the contest. I was encouraged by the quality of work from last year’s students, and I am excited about this year’s contest. We are proud to partner with educators from across our great state to offer these valuable resources.”
Last year’s first-ever essay contest on voting garnered nearly 250 submissions from across the Volunteer State with top honors going to students in Madison, Moore, Shelby and Sumner counties.
The essay contest and last year’s successful Student Mock Election are part of the office’s civic engagement program.
The program also offers lesson plans based on the Tennessee Blue Book created by Tennessee teachers. The goal is to offer an easy way for teachers to incorporate civic engagement and citizenship into their curriculum.
For more information, visit sos.tn.gov/civics.
Schools can submit up to two (2) essays per grade category for the contest.
Essays must be typed and within the word count limit. Titles and works cited (if provided) do not count towards the word count limit.
Grades 9-12: Word Count Limit: 750 words
Why should citizens care about local government? What are some practical ways for citizens to engage with their local government?
Grades 6-8: Word Count Limit: 500 words
If you were in charge of creating a new country, what would you include in the constitution and why? What would be the rights and responsibilities of the citizens?
Grades 3-5: Word Count Limit: 350 words
The Tennessee Constitution says “all power is inherent in the people.” Why is it important that people participate in their government? How can they do that?
Grades K-2: Word Count Limit: 100 words accompanied by a drawing. Drawings may not exceed 11” x 17” in size. Words can be incorporated into the drawing or attached separately.
In 100 words or less, what does it mean to be a good citizen? Draw a picture to illustrate.
Essays must be submitted by November 10, 2017 online as a word document or PDF. Online submission is available here.
K-2 entries can submit their essays and drawings online, but students will have the option to mail in their drawing if preferred. If mailing in the drawing portion of the essay, please complete an online submission form and indicate that you will be mailing in the essay and/or drawing. Please be sure to include the student’s name and school with the drawing so it can be attached to the correct online submission.
K-2 drawings can be mailed to the below address.
Attn: Abby Sutton, Division of Elections
Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
William R. Snodgrass Tower, 7th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Essays and drawings will not be returned, so please make a copy to keep for yourself.