for Northeast Ohio 6-12th Graders

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Complete Rules
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Entry Form

Judging Criteria

Essay Contest

The 2020 contest is now closed. To learn more about the annual scholarship contest, please contact program manager, Ben Becker at 216-593-0577 or

Kevin GramajoDownload 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.
  • Review the scoring rubric for grades 6-10

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
  • Review the scoring rubric for grades 11-12

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 2, 2020 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Finalists in grades 11-12 read their essays and are scored on the quality of their oral presentation.

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

  • Presented By:

    Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

  • Generously Supported by

    Presenting Sponsor
    Dworken & Bernstein

    The Semi J. and Ruth Begun Foundation

    Signature Sponsors
    Dealer Tire


    Media Partner
    Northeast Ohio Parent