Essay Contest

George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2017-2018.


The Redlands Chapter entries must be submitted prior to  November 30, 2017.

1.  This contest is open to all students who are United States citizens or legal aliens.  Contestants shall be attending public, parochial, or private high schools (including accredited home schools).   Contestants shall be in the sophomore, junior or senior grade of study during the contest year.  The contest is conducted in three phases:   local (Chapter), state (State Society) and National.   The contest must be entered through a Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution near the student's residence.  Only one entry per student is permitted per contest year. The first place National winner is prohibited from participating in following years' contests.  

2.  The contest is 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 (5) references with the minimum of three being published book sources to allow for verification of sources if necessary.  References from Encyclopedias or Internet sites will be accepted, but are not considered as part of the three published book sources.   If there are no book sources (i.e. all are from encyclopedias or internet sources) the essay will be disqualified.

3.   The essay must have four parts: A) title page, B) essay pages, C) bibliography (works cited), and D) contestant's biography. The title page, bibliography and contestant's biography must be listed on separate pages and no reference to the contestant's name or information can be part of the Essay pages or Bibliography. Please follow these rules exactly. Essays that do not conform to the rules may be immediately disqualified.

A) The title page must include the title of the essay, contestant's name, address, telephone number, and email address (if available). In addition, the title page must include the name, address, and telephone number of the high school in which the contestant is enrolled, and the contestant's grade level.

B) The essay must have a minimum of 800 words and not exceed 1,200 words (excluding title page, footnotes, bibliography page, and biography page). (Word counts based on a word processor are acceptable). The First page of the Essay must include the title of the essay. (No contestant information must appear on these pages as they are separated and distributed to the judges for grading to prevent possible grading bias.) The essay must be typed double-spaced on white bond paper. No bindings or special covers are needed. Graphics are not permitted. An original copy of the essay must be submitted. Poor quality copies will not be accepted. Plagiarism will be grounds for immediate disqualification.

C) Entries are preferred to be submitted in a digital format. We accept Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Rich Text (.rtf), Text (.txt), and Open Document Format (.odt) files.

D) The essay and bibliography must be documented in accordance with the Modern Language Association publication, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (see or Kate L. Turabian's publication, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (see also see: for Basic In-Text Citation Rules.

E) The contestant's biography is limited to one page. Topics to be included in the biography are academic awards and achievements, school activities, community activities, and plans for college.

4. Entries must be emailed prior to November 30,2017.

Please send entries to:
Charles Kiel
Essay Chairman
Redlands Chapter S.A.R.
P.O. Box 162 Highland, CA 92346-0162
(909) 862-8237

5. Essays which meet the criteria in Rules 1-4 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
E. Documentation


Redlands Chapter awards for the 2017-2018 contest are:
First place: $100.00, and entry in the State contest.
Second Place: $50.00
Third Place: $ 25.00
Awards will be presented at the Chapter Meeting on Saturday February 17, 2018 and the winners will be asked to read their essays at that time.
California State Society winner is awarded $1,500 in U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds, and moves on to the National contest.
National Society: First place: $2,000; a winning recognition certificate and medal; airfare and one night hotel stay for the winner and a chaperone at the SAR Annual Congress (in July 2018)

Second Place: $1,000

Third Place: $ 500

7. 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 NSSAR Knight Essay Contest webpage. Winning essay participants, on all levels, must supply a social security number or alien identification/green card number in order to receive their award.

8. Participants in this contest agree that the interpretation of rules and decisions of the NSSAR and its judges must govern without reservation and that the decision of the Judges is final.

Please address questions or send entries to:

Charles Kiel
Essay Chairman
Redlands Chapter S.A.R.
P.O. Box 162 Highland, CA 92346-0162
(909) 862-8237

For information on the Knight Essay Contest: