The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office is kicking off its third annual student essay contest.  The project is part of a larger civics engagement initiative to encourage students to be actively engaged citizens. The 2018 theme for the essays is leadership with length requirements varying by grade level.

Schools may submit two essays for kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade and ninth through 12th grade. All submissions can be submitted online beginning in September through Friday, Nov. 16.

Winners will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship and a trip to the State Capitol next spring. First place winners receive a $500 scholarship, with second and third place winners receiving $250 and $100 respectively.

“It has been exciting to see the growth of the annual essay contest over the past two years.  This along with our other efforts will have a long-term positive impact on young people becoming citizens actively engaged with their government as they become adults.  The quality of the submissions always impresses me and speaks well for the future leaders of our state.  I am pleased to have the participation of so many educators in promoting this opportunity to their students as we offer them this useful resource,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

The 2017 essay contest on citizenship garnered more than 1,000 essays, up from nearly 250 submissions in 2016.  Essays were written from across the Volunteer State with top honors going to public and private school students in Davidson, Hamilton, and Knox counties.

The essay contest and the Student Mock Election are part of the office’s civic engagement program.

The program also offers lesson plans created by Tennessee teachers based on the Tennessee Blue Book. The goal is to offer an easy way for teachers to incorporate civic engagement and citizenship into their curriculum.

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