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Guidelines for entering the "Celebrate America" Creative Writing Contest
Past winners have used the theme “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants” to discuss their personal immigration experiences, learn about and share family histories or write about the broader questions of the challenges facing immigrants in a new land. Fifth grade students enter their work in local contests which are sponsored by chapters of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Each chapter forwards the local winning entry to the National Competition where entries are reviewed by a distinguished panel including U.S. senators, award-winning authors and noted journalists. Winning entries are to be printed in the Congressional Record. The grand prize winner and two guests (including one parent/guardian) will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Council’s Annual Benefit Dinner where the winner will be recognized and will recite the winning piece. Local and national judges are looking for student writing that is original, thoughtful and speaks to the Council’s mission to educate the public about the benefits of immigration to our society.
Check for a local contest and local deadlines. The national deadline for local winners is April 12, 2013.
Theme: "Why I Am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants"
Entrants: 5th graders
- Any written entry (essay, poem, story, interview, etc.) that reflects the theme
- Entry should be submitted to your contest coordinator (some local contests require electronic submissions, so please check with your coordinator).
Word count: Up to 500 words
Judging criteria: Theme, presentation, creativity and message
CONTACTING YOUR CONTEST COORDINATOR
- Cover page must include student’s name, address, grade, age, school and telephone number
- Proof of enrollment in the fifth grade—such as report cards, transcripts or letters from the school principal
- A Release Form must be signed by contestant and parent or guardian