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The George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high schools who are in their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior (grades 9 through 12) year of study.

Contest Description

Conducted at the Chapter, State Society and National Society levels, a student must submit an original essay with topics based on original research and deal with an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution. 

An entry must have four parts:

•    Title page
•    Essay pages
•    Bibliography (works cited)
•    Contestant's biography

The title page, bibliography and contestant's biography must be listed on separate pages and no reference to the contestant's name or information can be part of the essay pages or bibliography.  The title page must include the title of the essay, contestant's name, address, telephone number, and email address (if available).  In addition, the title page must include the name, address, and telephone number of the high school in which the contestant is enrolled, and the contestant's grade level.

The essay must have a minimum of 800 words and not exceed 1,200 words (excluding title page, footnotes, bibliography page, and biography page).  Word counts based on a word processor are acceptable.  The first page of the essay must include the title of the essay.  No contestant information must appear on the essay pages as they are separated and distributed to the judges for grading to prevent possible grading bias.  The essay must be typed double-spaced on white copy paper.  No bindings or special covers are needed.  Graphics are not permitted.  An original copy of the essay must be submitted.  Poor quality copies will not be accepted.  Plagiarism will be grounds for immediate disqualification.

Students must source at least five (5) references with the minimum of three being published book sources to allow for verification of sources if necessary.  References from encyclopedias or Internet sites will be accepted, but are not considered as part of the three published book sources.  If there are no book sources (i.e., all are from encyclopedias or Internet sources), the essay will be disqualified.  The contestant's biography is limited to one page. Topics to be included in the biography are academic awards and achievements, school activities, community activities, and plans for college.

The essay and bibliography must be documented in accordance with the Modern Language Association publication, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or Kate L. Turabian's publication, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Please follow the above rules.  Essays that do not conform to the rules may be disqualified.

Essays which meet the criteria will be accepted and judged equally on the following criteria:

•    Historical accuracy
•    Clarity of thought
•    Organization and proven topic
•    Grammar and spelling
•    Documentation 

Contest Entry

Entries are to be submitted to the Chapter Committee Chairman in December.  Entries are judged and the winning entry for the chapter is then submitted to the Alabama Society in mid-January of each year.  

If selected as the state winner, the student and family are invited to attend the Alabama Society State Convention held in late February.  The Convention’s Saturday Youth Awards Luncheon is provided free to the state winner and accompanying family.  Mileage, room, and meal expenses (i.e., ‘travel’ expenses) up to a total of $225 (amount may vary), if requested, are also paid to the state winner for attending the State Convention.  

The Alabama Society contest winner is entered in the National Society contest.  The National Society Committee Chairman will notify all submitters by early April whether their entry was among the finalists.  The actual winner will be informed in order to be able to attend the National  Congress, held in July, and read their essay at the Youth Awards Luncheon. The winning essay will be published in the SAR Magazine.

Contest Awards

Cash awards are presented at Chapter, State, and National levels.  The 1st place national winner and chaperone are also provided airfare and one night hotel stay at the National Congress and is awarded $2000 (amount may vary).


Bob Baccus

Additional information and rules can be found at:

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest