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Civics Essay Contest Opens September 17th

U.S. high school students and their teachers are invited to compete for nearly $200,000 in prize money by participating in the fourth annual Being an American Essay Contest . Top prize winners and their teachers will also receive all-expenses paid trips to the nation’s capital.

The contest is administered by the Bill of Rights Institute, a non-profit educational organization in the Washington, D.C. area.

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 top three student winners and their teachers from each of the nine geographical regions will be announced at a special Washington, D.C. Awards Gala in the spring of 2010 where they will be awarded cash prizes of $5,000 (First Place), $2,500 (Second Place), and $1,250 (Third Place). The winning students will also explore the nation’s capital, meet contemporary American heroes and national leaders, and visit national landmarks. Additionally, the contest will award 126 honorable mention prizes of $250 to seven students and their teachers from each region.

The 2009-20010 Contest submission period begins September 17, 2009 and ends December 1, 2009.

Further information, including submission criteria, lesson plans and background information on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers and other Americans who have contributed to America’s shared civic values, are available at