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"Being an American" Essay Contest Deadline Approaches

Students and Teachers Can Win Up to $5,000 and DC Trip in American Citizenship Essay Competition.

High school students and their teachers are being reminded that the Bill of Rights Institute's national Being An American Essay Contest deadline is soon approaching. The contest asks students to share their thoughts on American citizenship by answering the question: "What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American?"

Essay entries are due by December 1, 2009. Teachers much submit essays online at www.BeingAnAmerican.org for a chance to win cash prizes from a pool totaling nearly $200,000 and one of 54 trips to the nation's capital (awarded both to teachers and their students).

The names of the top three prize winners in the nine contest regions will be announced at a special Washington, DC Awards Gala in the spring of 2010. The first place winners in each region and their sponsoring teachers will each receive $5,000 cash awards, second place winners $2,500, and third place winners $1,250. Honorable mention prizes of $250 will be awarded to 7 students and teachers from each contest regions.

The winners will also be treated to a tour of prominent national landmarks and will hear from a range of important voices on American citizenship. Last year's winners met with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who keynoted the awards gala; NPR's Juan Williams; Pro Football Hall of Fame Cornerback Darrell Green; FOX News Commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano; and several members of Congress from winning students' districts.

"The Being An American Essay Contest allows teachers to open a dialogue with their students about what it means to be a modern day American citizen in light of the principles upheld by our Founders, Documents and heroes," said Bill of Rights Institute President Victoria Hughes. "Supporting contest materials, including lesson plans meeting national academic standards, are provided at no cost to teachers who want to incorporate the essay topic into the classroom."

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