2019 Essay Contest Guidelines

Essay Contest Guidelines

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The 2019 Skagit County Democrats Essay Contest topic is “The Most Pressing Issue Confronting America.”  The top three entries will receive awards of $750, $500, and $250, respectively.


The contest is open to students from all Skagit County public high schools.


  1. Select one issue. Describe the problem, why it’s important, who is impacted by it. Then explain how you would like to see it addressed. Include personal examples and opinions as appropriate.
  2. Essays must be the original work of the student.
  3. Essays must be long enough to fully explain the writer’s points, but no more than 750 words. Footnotes and citations are not required, but if used, they will not be included in the 750-word count.
  4. Essays must be submitted between October 15 and November 30, 2019.

Submission criteria

  1. Method of entry is only via email to SCDessayentry@yahoo.com
  2. NO attachments will be accepted; copy and paste text into body of email.
  3. Include name, address, telephone number, and school at the beginning of the essay and in NO OTHER PLACE to allow anonymous judging.
  4. Entries received after November 30, 2019 will not be accepted.

Criteria for judging

  1. Demonstrated understanding of the topic
  2. Insight, incisiveness, originality
  3. Persuasiveness
  4. Presentation – style, clarity, vocabulary, structure, grammar.


  1. Essays will be judged by a team representing Skagit County Democratic Party officers, educators, and community members.
  2. Winners will be announced on the Skagit County Democrats website, org on January 12, 2020.
  3. Winners will be invited to a reception at the Skagit Democrat Headquarters to read their essays and receive their awards.


  1. Judges will have no knowledge of a contestant’s name, school, relationships, ethnicity, or any other legally protected status.
  2. No particular view or perspective will be imposed on the essays in the judging; student conclusions and opinions will be evaluated based on the strength of the facts and reasoning set forth in support of those conclusions and opinions.
  3. No individual notice will be given to non-winning entrants.
  4. The Skagit County Democrats, as sponsor of the contest, will be the final arbiter of all questions regarding entries, judging, interpretation of the rules, and any other aspect of this contest.
  5. Essays become the property of Skagit County Democrats and winning essays will be posted on the Skagit County Democrats website.