February 12

Selma Essay Contest

Congressman Sander Levin has sponsored an essay contest about Selma and the Voting Rights Act (we’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the law’s signing).

The essay’s overarching theme is: “How will you use your voice today?”  It asks you to consider one of two angles:

1. relate to important events or figures involved with the Selma to Montgomery March and the Civil Rights Movement;

2. Write about how the March and the CRM have impacted you today.

Here’s the website for the Rep. Levin – http://levin.house.gov/serving-you/selmacomp It is due Friday, February 27.  You can submit it on their website, via email, or fax.

Use this blog to post questions about the essay, topics, angles to write about, etc.  I will be home over break to answer questions, work w/ you on the essay, etc.

March 28

Civil War Preservation Trust Essay and Postcard Contest

Go to this link to learn more about the Civil War Preservation Trust’s essay and postcard contest.  Both are due by May 1.


For the essay:

Submit essays addressing the theme, Preserving 150 Years of History: 1862-1863, Shifting Tides. 1862 and 1863 were eventful years in the American Civil War – including the Battle of Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Gettysburg Address. In your essay incorporate events such as these with the importance of preservation and the study of history.

All Essays must:

* Use the slogan as their title. 
* Discuss preservation. 
* Be authored by only one student, there is no group entry category.
* Be approximately 300 words long.
* Use proper grammar, correct spelling, and consist primarily of the student’s own words.
* Include citations for all quotations. *Plagiarism will disqualify your essay.
* Be sent through e-mail by May 1, 2013.

Essays will be judged for creativity, persuasive quality, clarity, and strength of message.

Submit your entry to:
education@civilwar.org with the subject line: “2013 Essay Contest”
**Please send your essay as an attachment either as a Word or PDF document. Please include your contact information on this document, not just in the e-mail.

For the postcard:

Submit illustrations on postcards with a short note on the back addressing the theme of Preserving 150 Years of History: 1862-1863, Shifting Tides.

Postcards Must:

* Be the correct size – 5 to 6 inches long and 3.5 to 4.25 inches high.
* Fit this year’s theme.
* Include an illustration on one side and a brief note on the other, just as one would write a postcard.
* Be authored by only one student, there is no group entry category.
* Be appropriate for all audiences, not offensive or derogatory
* Be in the Civil War Trust office by May 1, 2013. 

Postcards will be judged for creativity, clarity, and strength of message.

Send your postcard to:

Civil War Trust Education Department
1156 15th St. NW Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005


To see last year’s winners in both the postcard and essay contest, go here (remember, you’re in the senior division): http://www.civilwar.org/education/contests-quizzes/essay-contest/2012-essay-contest/2012-essay-postcard-contest.html


November 5

Writing Contest – Bill of Rights Foundation

This is from an email I received over the weekend. 

Hi Geoff,

I am excited to tell you about our BRAND NEW Scholarship Contest for high school students. The We The Students Scholarship Contest runs through November 16, 2012, so encourage your students to enter today.

Students will grapple with the questions: What role do the ideas of the Constitution have today?  What rights should the government protect?

This is similar to the VFW contest that you were asked to do in Blog #41.  The details of the essay are below.  It’s longer and a lot more detailed (20 points max extra credit). 

To participate in the contest, high school students will answer three questions around the ideas of the Constitution and the role of government. One $4,000 prize will be awarded for first place, one $2,000 prize for second place, and one $1,000 prize for third place. Two $500 prizes will be awarded for honorable mentions. 

At the Institute, we know your impact on students’ lives is invaluable – but in an effort to support your hard work, we have set up the contest with teacher prizes. When your students win, you win! The teachers of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will each receive a $100 cash prize.

For more information, visit the We The Students Scholarship Contest page.

– Veronica

Veronica Burchard
Vice President for Education
Bill of Rights Institute
200 North Glebe Road, Suite 200
Arlington, VA 22203

Questions to answer for the essay:

1.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution.  That must be maintained for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”  Please analyze and discuss how ONE of the Founding principles (choose from the list below) found in the Constitution helps preserve liberty, and why that principle is still important today.  (up to 500 words)

  • All men are created equal
  • Limited Government
  • Private Property
  • Representative Government

2.  Most high school students are too young to vote.  However, that doesn’t mean that – as citizens – they can’t actively help to shape our world today.  Based on your beliefs about being an involved citizen, how would you convince an apathetic classmate that they should take an active role in shaping their community and the nation.  Feel free to use personal examples.  (up to 500 words)

3.  Read the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, and the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

(a) Please provide a critical analysis comparing the United States’ Founding documents and the UN’s Universal Declaration in regard to ONE of the following three categories:  (up to 500 words)

  • The origin of rights
  • The role of government
  • The treatment of property

(b) After comparing the documents, which do you think best protects individual liberty?  Defend your view.  (up to 300 words)

October 3

JFK Profiles in Courage Essay contest

Check out the criteria for this 1,000 word essay that could win you $10,000 and a free trip to Boston.  In his book, Profiles in Courage, Kennedy wrote about eight American elected officials who he believed demonstrated political courage. 


The due date for submission is January 7, 2012.  Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to write about and analyze an act of political courage performed by a U.S. official who served during or after 1956 (the year Profiles was published).  The issue that you analyze can be at any level – local, state, national or international.  You are encouraged to use primary sources and use a variety of sources (including one non-Internet source). 

You have to register online here –http://www.jfklibrary.org/Education/Profile-in-Courage-Essay-Contest/Registration-and-Submission/Registration-and-Submission-Form.aspx

Read previous winning essays here – http://www.jfklibrary.org/Education/Profile-in-Courage-Essay-Contest/Past-Winning-Essays.aspx  (note that only one senior has won in the past seven years). 

As always, I am willing to help you with this.  Good luck.

August 31

New due dates, War of 1812 Contest and other stuff

1. Hey folks, I forgot that the original due date that I had given you for all of the finished Mayflower work (Parts 3 and 4 questions, vocab on the Google Doc, and blog below)  is Tuesday, Sept. 6th, not today, Wed. August 31st.  If you’re all done w/ the work, bonus for you.   If you want to get started on the school year’s homework, it’s already posted at my Fusion page (http://tinyurl.com/wick25). 

Link to Google Doc for Mayflower vocab: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag_7cJC2L8hqdEo2UjAwTEdQWmNYVk8wdnNWeXFycUE&hl=en_US 

“1491” article link – https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=1HjvrLQOhFQ3VYPe80m8y33clvOIw6QRW7kz6Yej9tlLr4BsNIfKev_SEZ8zb&hl=en

Reading instructions for “1491” – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1skWnixOehpc9CNexTWUbsPfO29J9cPFZc4oarh_2s2k/edit?hl=en_US

2. There is an essay contest on the effects of the War of 1812 on Michigan sponsored by the Michigan Council for History Education.  $100 for 1st place and $50 for 2nd place.  Here’s the criteria:


Best part is that it’s not due until early April and it’s only 1,000 max.  I will help anyone who wants to do this.  I’d like to see several entries from Groves entered in this contest. 

3. I’m thinking of starting a APUSH book club that might meet once a month or every 45 days, depending upon the school schedule.  This will be open to both students AND parents and will meet in the evening (say around 7 p.m.) and will last for about an hour where we’ll talk about the book.   And after Early APUSH is over, you will still be invited to come b/c we’ll move on into the stuff that we’ve covered as a class last year but read cool books about it.  It will be a good way for you to keep the history info fresh in your head and probably learn new stuff along the way.  There will be no extra credit for any of this.  It’s just to make ourselves smarter and to hang out and have a good time. 

 4. One of our first projects is for you to make a very short (less than five minute) mockumentary / advertisement for one of the original 13 colonies – the premise being that you are trying to encourge Europeans to come to your colony to emigrate and prosper.  This will include both classes 1st and 4th hours, so figure out who you want to work with, but don’t set your hopes on any particular colony.  You cannot shotty Pennsylvania or Massachusetts.  More details about the criteria to follow. 

5. Another essay contest – sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute –

How does the Constitution establish and maintain a culture of liberty?

Similar specs for the essay in #2 (1000 words max) but you must submit it between Sept. 17 – Dec. 15, 2011.  Details for rules and regulations, click here: http://my.billofrightsinstitute.org/page.aspx?pid=1193  Prize money is much more substantial since it’s a national contest: $1,000, $500, and $250. 

Again, you will have my help with getting this done. 

6.  Google the term “flipping the classroom” and then tell me what you find in the comments section.  Do you think it’s do-able for our class?  Why or why not? 

Thanks.  Your feedback is always appreciated. 

Da Boss

April 13

Essay contest for Charles Wright African American History Museum

Here is an opportunity to learn some history and write about it. 

Essay Contest Requirements

  1. Open to all students in Detroit Public Schools, Public or Private schools in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
  2. Participants for the Essay Contest must be in grades 8 to 12.
  3. Participants are required to write a 500 Word Essay titled: “How has Juneteenth made an impact on my life?” The Essay must be typed, double spaced, and include 1 inch margins. Participant’s name and (parent/guardian) phone number should be included on essay.
  4. Participants are required to complete and submit an application in addition to submitting their essay.
  5. The Essay will be judged by a panel of judges according to:
    1. Material organization (adherence to the topic).
    2. Vocabulary and style.
    3. Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and neatness.
    4. Following the contest rules.
    5. The submission deadline is June 1, 2011. All essays submitted become the property of the Women’s Committee at the Charles H. Write Museum of African American History and will not be returned. Make sure you retain a copy.
    6. Submissions can be sent by using 1 of 2 methods:
      1. It can be emailed along with application to: muhammadstacy@yahoo.com
      2. Or they can be mailed along with application to:

Essay/Art Contest

Charles H. Wright Museum

Attn: Women’s Committee

315 E. Warren Ave.

Detroit, MI  48201

  1. There will be 3 awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. The first place award is $150.00. The Second place award is $100.00. The Third award is $50.00. Winners will be announced at our Juneeteenth Celebration.

 For a definition of Juneteenth, click here: http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

August 31

FYI – Writing contest – First Freedom

First Freedom is offering an essay / video contest that rewards $2,500 to winners of their contest on freedoms of the First Amendment of the Constitution.  This year, the topic focuses on the freedom of religion. 

ESSAY & VIDEO TOPIC (http://www.firstfreedom.org/education/students.html

INTRODUCTION: The United States is comprised of a patchwork of diverse groups and communities that have all contributed to its history. For many such communities, the quest for freedom of religion and belief has been a central theme in this history. Many of the colonists who first settled in North America came to escape religious persecution. The irony of this settlement, however, was that as many communities identified themselves with a single religion, the colonists sometimes transformed from the persecuted to persecutors.

After the American Revolution, the colonies faced the challenge of unifying as a nation, forming a democratic government, and establishing a constitution. A bill of rights was soon added as the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, stating: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Yet, the First Amendment guarantee to freedom of religion applied only to the federal government and not to state and local governments.

In the 19th century, waves of Catholic and Jewish immigrants flooded into the United States, and homegrown religious movements also emerged. At the beginning of the 20th century, Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought Asian religions to this country. In the 1940s, after the United States Supreme Court extended the interpretation of the word “liberty” in the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause to other freedoms in the Bill of Rights, the guarantee of religious freedom was expanded as law to the state and local level.

After World War II, a new influx of Jews came to this nation fleeing persecution. Then with the change in immigration laws in 1965, even greater reigious diversity became a part of the American landscape.

Despite legal adaptations, however, many religious groups continue to struggle to receive equal rights under the law. Some also battle religious discrimination.

TOPIC: The United States has become a country of great religious diversity. The treatment of religious minorities is considered by many to be the true measure of a government’s guarantee of religious freedom.

1. Select a religion or belief group from your local community, state or region that was or is a minority group. (If you are not currently living in the United States, select a U.S. locality that you have lived in. If you are participating in an international-studies program and have not lived in the United States, select any state or region, perhaps one where a family member or friend lives.)
2. Research and analyze its history as it encounters issues of religious freedom and equality.
3. Research and evaluate how this group’s local history compares to the broader narrative of U.S. history and First Amendment law.
4. Has this group fully realized its freedom of religion and belief?

Online Registration Deadline: Monday, November 15, 2010
Postmark Entry Deadline: Saturday, November 27, 2010

Announcement of Winners: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 (Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday)

A couple of articles:

1. http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=849241&ct=7803747 

2. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100116/obama-declares-religious-freedom-as-natural-right