The uniqueness of Texas and Texans is recognized around the world. The purpose of the Texas History Essay Contest is to encourage students to explore the pioneer spirit of Texans on the early-day frontier, their methods of accomplishing their goals under very difficult circumstances, and the results of their efforts that can be seen today. Graduating high school seniors from any high school may enter. History, government and English students are particularly encouraged to participate. Criteria to be used by judges in selecting the winners will be depth of research in Texas history, originality of thought and expression, and organization. The final judge will be Dr. Joe Ericson of Nacogdoches, noted author. The authors of the three best essays submitted will be the winners if the essays so warrant. They will be recognized and the prizes presented by the Sons of the Republic of Texas at the annual San Jacinto Celebration at the San Jacinto Monument. Attendance at the celebration is recommended of scholarship awardees, but not required. If a scholarship winner chooses to attend the celebration, he/she will not be reimbursed for travel expenses.
The Knight Essay Contest is designed to give students an opportunity to explore topics based on original research and deal with an event, person, philosophy, or ideal associated with the American Revolution. Each student’s 800 to 1,200-word essay will be judged based upon its historical accuracy, clarity, organization, grammar and spelling, and documentation.
- Eligible: Texas high school freshmen through seniors – public, private and home-schooled.
- Follow National Society Sons of the American Revolution rules.
- Key date for students --- December 31st postmark or before: Mail Knight Essay entries to the Texas SAR Chapter Chairmen.
- The Knight Essay State Chairman can help you locate a Texas SAR chapter.
- Provide signed parent/guardian release form with entry.
The George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest calls for an original researched and proven topic written in English. The topic of the essay shall deal with an event, person, philosophy, or ideal associated with the American Revolution; the Declaration of Independence; or the framing of the United States Constitution. Students must source at least five references with the minimum of three being published works to allow for verification of sources if necessary. References from encyclopedias or the Internet will be accepted, but are not considered as part of the three published book sources. If there are no published references, the essay will be disqualified.
The essay must have four parts: A.) title page, B.) essay pages, C.) bibliography or works cited, and D.) applicant's biography. The title page, bibliography, and applicant's biography must be listed on separate pages and no reference to the applicant's name or information can be part of the essay pages or bibliography.
1.) The title or cover page must include the title of the essay, applicant's name, applicant’s school grade level, home address, telephone number, and email address. In addition, the title page must include the name, address, and telephone number of the high school in which the applicant is enrolled, and the applicant's grade level. Additionally, the cover page must include the name, address, and telephone number of the school in which the contestant is enrolled along with a statement of how the applicant learned of the contest. If the entrant learned of the Knight Essay Contest through the Internet, include the URL of the website. This page is separated from the essay for judging purposes.
2.) The essay must have a minimum of 800 words and not exceed 1,200 words (excluding the title page, footnotes, bibliography page, and biography page). Word counts based on a word processor are acceptable. All contest entries must be submitted as PDF files attached to emails. Contest entries submitted in any other format will be disqualified. The first page of the essay must include the title of the essay. No applicant information of any kind must appear on these pages as the essays are separated and distributed to the judges for grading to prevent possible grading bias. The essay must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and with 1-inch margins on all sides. The essay’s pages, which shall include the bibliography page, must be sequentially numbered beginning with the first page of the essay as page 1. No contestant information may appear on the pages of the essay or bibliography. No bindings or special covers are allowed. Graphics are not permitted. An original copy of the essay must be submitted. Poor quality copies will not be accepted. Contest entries that do not conform exactly to these requirements will be disqualified. Plagiarism will be grounds for immediate disqualification.
3.) Citations in the essay and references in the bibliography must be documented in accordance with a widely used and publicly available citation system. Examples of a citation system include the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Manual of Style, the MHRA Style Guide, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, and “Harvard referencing.” The bibliography page must specify the system used. No contestant information may appear on the bibliography page(s).
4.) The applicant's biography is limited to one page and must include information regarding the contestant's academic awards and achievements, school activities, community activities, and plans for college. This page is separated from the essay and bibliography for judging purposes.
Entries must be submitted by the SAR chapter or society deadline. This is usually by December 31, though some have different deadlines. Please contact the chapter or society chairman to confirm the deadline and/or see the exceptions listed on the SAR contact page listed above.
Essays which meet the criteria above will be accepted and judged equally on the following criteria:
A.) Historical accuracy
B.) Clarity of thought
C.) Organization and proven topic
D.) Grammar and spelling
Awards at the chapter and society levels may vary. Please contact the specific chairmen for more information. Awards at the national level are as follows:
First place: $5,000; a medal and recognition certificate; up to $500 toward travel expenses and one night hotel stay for the winner and a chaperone at the annual SAR Congress.
Second Place: $2,500 and a recognition certificate
Third Place: $1,000 and a recognition certificate
The winning essay of the national contest will be submitted for publication in the SAR Magazine. Participants in this contest agree that their essay may be published in the SAR Magazine and on the SAR Knight Essay Contest web page. Winning essay participants, on all levels, may be required to supply a tax identification number in order to receive their award. By entering this contest, all participants agree that if their essay is chosen as the national winning essay, it will be the property of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution."