for Northeast Ohio 6-12th Graders

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Complete Rules
& Guidelines

Judging Criteria

Jessica Srail


Download the complete contest rules here.

Essays will be scored on:

  • Responding to the correct question and required components
  • Integrating the concept of responsible citizenship
  • Originality/creativity
  • Potential for any plan of action to effect positive change
  • Writing style/presentation

An above average essay:

  • Includes a specific story/example that is both personal and universal
  • Tells a true story in a moving, dramatic or inspiring way
  • Understands and reflects upon the theme of personal responsibility
  • Identifies changes and/or an action plan that can be implemented

Scoring entries:

  • Each entry is assigned a number. Essays are blind-scored by number only; no student or school names are identified. Do not include student name or school name within the body of your essay. Failure to comply may result in disqualification.
  • A minimum of three readers score each essay using a numerical point scale and the criteria outlined above.

Determining winners in grades 6-10:

  • Fifteen (15) winners (3 for each grade level) are determined for grades 6-10 by the highest number of points.
  • In the event of a tie in the reading period, the Judges score the essays in question to determine which advance to the top 25.

Determining scholarship finalists and winners for grades 11-12:

  • Scholarship semi-finalists are determined by the highest number of points.
  • Semi-finalist essays are read by a team of judges.
  • Each judge will read and score each semi-finalist essay.
  • Essays are scored using a numerical point scale.
  • Judges’ aggregate scores narrow the field to no more than ten (10) finalists

Because standing up, speaking out and communicating ideas is an important part of being an agent of change, finalists for scholarship prizes must be present at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 21, 2016 to read their essay. Finalists in grades 11-12 will be asked to read their essays and will be scored on the quality of their oral presentation.

The Grand Prize Scholarship Winner, First and Second Runner-Up are determined by combining the scores received for their essay and oral presentation.

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