Structure Source Based History Essay Contests

WIN CASH PRIZES … AND TEACH HISTORY TOO — Catholic school students in grades 5 – 12 are invited to enter our annual essay contest.  The contest is open to all students in Catholic schools – parochial, private and homeschool…. Here are the rules and details… We hope teachers and parents will incorporate this essay contest into their lesson plans and encourage We hope teachers and parents will incorporate this essay contest into their lesson plans and encourage their students to participate.  

There are eight divisions:

  • For Catholic schools:
    • 5th grade Catholic school students
    • 6th grade Catholic school students
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic school students
    • High school Catholic school students
  • For Catholic homeschools:
    • 5th grade Catholic homeschoolers
    • 6th grade Catholic homeschoolers
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic homeschoolers
    • High school Catholic homeschoolers

ESSAY TOPICS

5th Grade Students:

Choose a Catholic historical character (born before 1950) from North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico). Write about his or her life and work and why he or she was important to the Church and country. Students may choose a person who was born outside of North America, but who did their important work in North America.

6th Grade Students:

Choose a country other than your home country, that you would like to visit. Research that country’s history and write about two places of historical interest that you would like to visit if you traveled there and why.

7th and 8th Grade Students: (Choose one of these topics)

1. Choose a non-North American historical character (from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or South America) who lived between 300 A. D. and 1600 A.D. and relate how that person influenced the time and place in which they lived.

2. Choose an historical event that occurred between 300 A.D. and 1600 A.D. (This could be a war, a single battle in a war, a plague, the coronation of a king, the passage of a law or decree, an ecumenical council, a revolution, an invention, a birth or death, a marriage, etc. – but the event must be an historically important event). Describe the event, the key players, its outcome and how it changed history.

High School Students: (choose one of these topics)

1. The year 1618 was the beginning of the 30 Years War in Europe. Research this conflict, identify its causes, why it lasted so long and what were its results. Explain why it was such an important war in the history of Europe.

2. The year 1918 was the end of the World War I. Discuss how this war changed Europe. You may concentrate on one aspect of change – such as economics, politics, religion or culture.

3. Show how World War I lead to changes in the culture of the United States in the 1920s.

4. C. S. Lewis wrote: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” Explain this quotation, using examples from history.

5. C. S. Lewis wrote: “History isn’t just the story of bad people doing bad things. It’s quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” Explain this quotation, using examples from history.

NEW GUIDELINE: Teachers may only submit 5 essays, per division, per school. While we want to have every student continue to participate and enjoy the opportunity to write and learn more about history, we are asking the teachers to select the best 5 essays for submission. We will continue to send a letter thanking every member of the class for participating. For further questions please email: contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

AWARDS

  • For Catholic schools and students:
    • 5th grade Catholic school – $100 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
    • 6th grade Catholic school – $100 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic school – $150 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
    • High school, Catholic school – $200 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
  • For Catholic homeschools and students:
    • 5th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $100 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
    • 6th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $100 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $150 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
    • High school, Catholic homeschoolers – $200 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
  • For all winners:Winning essays will be published on the CTP website and social media.

WRITING GUIDELINES

  • For the 5/6 divisions, essays should be at least 450 words, but no more than 1,000 words.
  • For the 7/8 divisions, essays should be at least 600 words, but no more than 1,500 words.
  • For the high school divisions, essays should be at least 800 words, but no more than 2,000 words.
  • Essays should be typed, double spaced, 11 pt in Times New Roman font.
  • If essays are e-mailed, they must be in PDF format.

FURTHER…

  • Your writing should be in your own words. If you quote another author (either from a book or the internet), you must cite that author in a footnote or an endnote. Essays that are suspected of plagiarism will be disqualified.
  • Essays must include a bibliography or simple list of sources used.
  • Wikipediamay not be used as the primary reference material. Wikipedia is useful for an initial familiarization with a topic, but it is not considered a reliable source in academic circles. A Wikipedia article can be useful in providing reference to books and articles which can be used for further research.

An Entry Form must be filled out and attached to each essay.

Catholic School Entry Form (right-click and Save As to download)

Homeschool Entry Form (right-click and Save As to download)

Please choose from the links above to download your entry form. Download the form to your computer and then fill it out. Save the completed form and then send it by email to contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

DEADLINE

All mailed essays must be postmarked by midnight, November 17, 2017.

All e-mailed essays must be received by midnight, November 17, 2017, EST.

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

Essays can be mailed via USPO to:

Catholic Textbook Project
Essay Contest
P.O. Box 266
Galena, OH 43021 

Or they may be sent via email, attached in PDF format to: contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

Each student’s essay must be e-mailed individually and not gathered into one file.

Please contact Katherine at contest@catholictextbookproject.com with any of your questions.

  • 1

    Wait a day or so and re-read your essay. Get your essay done a couple of days before the due date so that you have time to go back and revise it to make it polished. Avoid turning in a first draft that you haven't double-checked for errors.

  • 2

    Correct errors related to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Consult a style book if you are unsure how to properly use quotation marks, colons, semicolons, apostrophes or commas. Avoid using exclamation points.

  • 3

    Check your statements.
    • Look for mistakes involving than/then, your/you're, its/it's, etc. Make sure you know how to use apostrophes correctly.
    • Look for mistakes involving general punctuation. Check for run-on sentences, commas and periods inside quotation marks, as well as sparely-used dashes, colons, and semi-colons.
  • 4

    Remove any repetitive or unnecessary words.Vary your language with the help of a thesaurus. Also, consult a dictionary to make sure that you're using unfamiliar words correctly.
    • At the same time, try to keep your language short, sweet, and to the point. A thesaurus is a great tool, but don't just use big words to sound fancy. The best essays are clear, concise, and easily understood by a wide audience.
    • Focus on writing killer verbs for sentences. Verbs communicate the action in a sentence and drive the action. A great verb can be the difference between a bland sentence and a beautiful one.
    • Use adjectives lightly. Adjectives are great descriptive words, but when used indiscriminately, they can burden an essay and make it less readable. Try to let the verbs and nouns do most of the heavy lifting before you focus on adjectives.
  • 5

    Avoid colloquial (informal) writing. Do not use contractions or abbreviations (e.g., don't, can't, won't, shouldn't, could've, or haven't). Your essay should have a serious tone, even if it's written in a light or lyrical style.

  • 6

    Analyze how your essay flows. Does each sentence lead smoothly to the next? Does each paragraph flow logically to the next? Good connections will help your ideas to flow:
    • When events happen in sequence: I first started to realize that I was in the minority when I was in middle school...My realization was confirmed when I proceeded to high school.
    • If sentences elaborate on each other: Plants need water to survive...A plant's ability to absorb water depends on the nutrition of the soil.
    • When an idea contrasts with another idea: Vegetarians argue that land is unnecessarily wasted by feeding animals to be eaten as food...Opponents argue that land being used for grazing would not be able to be used to create any other kind of food.
    • If you're relaying a cause and effect relationship: I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college...I am inspired to continue my family's progress through the generations.
    • When connecting similar ideas: Organic food is thought to be better for the environment . . . local food is believed to achieve the same goals.
  • 7

    Cut information that's not specifically related to your topic. You don't want your essay to ramble off-topic. Any information that doesn't directly or indirectly support your thesis should be cut out.

  • 8

    Have someone read your paper aloud to you, or record yourself reading it aloud and play it back. Your ears are sometimes better than your eyes at picking up mistakes in language. The essay should sound like it has a good flow and understandable words.

  • 9

    Rewrite any problematic body passages. If needed, rearrange sentences and paragraphs into a different order. Make sure that both your conclusion and introduction match the changes that you make to the body.

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