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DAR Patriots of the American Revolution Essay Contest

High school essay contest

Looking for a high school writing contest this fall? Look no further than the Daughters of the American Revolution’s (DAR) Patriots of the American Revolution Essay Contest. In my previous teaching position, a few of my high school students participated in this contest as part of our Writer’s Workshop routine. Entering the contest was one of the options they could choose for their portfolios.

If you’re not familiar with the DAR, here’s a brief intro from the organization’s website: “The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children.”

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My students have had great success with the DAR Patriots of the American Revolution Essay Contest. Within the last three years, two of my students have written essays that won at both the local and state level, where monetary prizes were awarded. Needless to say, I’m very proud of those students!

This year’s 2022-2023 contest guidelines sheet details the topic, length (800-1,200 for 6-8 grades), format, and bibliography details. (Note: Each DAR chapter designates their own individual due dates. Check with your local chapter by locating it here on the national DAR website’s chapter locater.)

Here’s the high school essay prompt:

“Select a figure from the era of the American Revolution (1773-1783). Discuss how he or she influenced the course of the American Revolution, who he or she was and his/her contribution to the founding of a new nation. Your figure may be any person, whether a well-known figure or an everyday man, woman or child who supported the American Revolution in ways large or small.”

With that prompt in mind, here’s my advice to your students:

Choose a lesser known patriot. Go beyond the founding fathers to find and write about a patriot whom the judges won’t be as familiar with. My student who won at state last year, for example, wrote about the patriot Nancy Hart.

Download the contest guidelines by clicking the button below:

And here’s my last tip:

Tell your students to get creative and go beyond the traditional informative essay. Blend genres, combining, for example, a journal entry with a biographical piece.

I encourage you to try the DAR Patriots of the American Revolution High School Contest with your high school students. It was a mainstay in my classes.

Thanks for reading!

Have you ever tried a DAR contest? Leave a comment below or send me a message via my Contact Page. If you need more info, please ask. I’ll be glad to help you however I can.

I thoroughly believe that writing contests can infuse ELA with relevance and a dash of project-based learning. Whenever students know their words will enter “the real world” and be reviewed by real people, it makes them take the work more seriously.

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