2017 Essay Writing Contest

Catholic school students in grades 5 – 12 are invited to enter our annual essay contest.

The contest is open to all students in Catholic schools – parochial, private or homeschool. 

This year we have eight divisions:

  • 5th grade Catholic school students
  • 6th grade Catholic school students
  • 7th/8th grade Catholic school students
  • High school – Catholic schools
  • 5th grade Catholic homeschoolers
  • 6th grade Catholic homeschoolers
  • 7th/8th grade Catholic homeschoolers
  • High school – Catholic homeschoolers

ESSAY TOPICS

5th Grade Students:

Choose a Catholic historical character (born before 1900) from North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico). Write about his or her life and work and why he or she was important to the Church and country. Students may choose a person who was born outside of North America, but did their important work in North America.

6th Grade Students:

Choose a country other than the U.S. and relate how the Catholic faith was brought to that country. (Who were the key people, how did the Church grow in that country, and does the Church still survive there?)

7th and 8th Grade Students:

Choose an event that was important to history. (This could be a war, a single battle in a war, an election, a plague, the coronation of a king, the passage of a law or decree, an ecumenical council, a labor strike, a revolution, the publication of a book, a birth or death, a marriage, etc. – But the event must be an historically important event). Describe the event, show how Catholics or the Catholic Church was involved in this event and its outcome.

High School Students: (choose one of the four topics)

1. 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Choose an important person from this event and describe his or her involvement. The character one describes may either be a Protestant or a Catholic. (Students may consult our text, Light to the Nations I, Chapters 17 and 18 to guide them in writing on this topic. This text, however, should not be the only source they consult.)

2. 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik (or Communist) Revolution in Russia. Discuss why the revolution occurred, the kind of government and society it established, and its effects on religion in Russia. (Students may consult our text, Light to the Nations II, Chapters 13, 15-18 to guide them in writing on this topic. This text, however, should not be the only source they consult.)

3. 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. What events led to the United States’ declaration of war? Do you think the United States had a just cause to go to war? (Students should consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2258-2317 to address this question.) What were the results of the U.S. entry into the war? (Students may consult our text, Lands of Hope and Promise, Chapters 23 and 25 to guide them in writing on this topic. This text, however, should not be the only source they consult.)

4. The Declaration of Independence declares that it is a “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness.” Governments, says the Declaration, exist to secure these rights for the people. What did the founders of the United States mean by the terms, liberty and happiness? How does their understanding of these terms compare with what the Catholic Church has meant by these terms? (Students may consult our text, Lands of Hope and Promise, Chapters 8 and 9, and Light to the Nations II, Chapter 1, to guide them in writing on this topic. These texts, however, should not be the only sources they consult. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, too, would be helpful: paragraphs 1716-1724, 1730-1742, 1878-1889.)

AWARDS

  • 5th grade Catholic school – $100 to student and $400 gift certificate towards CTP textbooks for the school student attends
  • 6th grade Catholic school – $100 to student and $400 gift certificate towards CTP textbooks for the school student attends
  • 7/8 grade Catholic school – $150 to student and $400 gift certificate towards CTP textbooks for the school student attends
  • High school, Catholic school – $200 to student and $400 gift certificate towards CTP textbooks for the school student attends
  • 5th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $100 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
  • 6th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $100 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
  • 7th/8th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $150 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
  • High school, Catholic homeschoolers – $200 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
  • Winning essays will be published on the CTP blog.

WRITING GUIDELINES

  • For the 5/6 divisions, essays should be at least 450 words, but no more than 1,000 words.
  • For the 7/8 divisions, essays should be at least 600 words, but no more than 1,500 words.
  • For the high school divisions, essays should be at least 800 words, but no more than 2,000 words.
  • Essays should be typed, double spaced, 11 pt in Times New Roman font.
  • If essays are e-mailed, they must be in PDF format.

FURTHER…

  • Your writing should be in your own words. If you quote another author (either from a book or the internet), you must cite that author in a footnote or an endnote. Essays must include a bibliography of sources used. Essays that are suspected of plagiarism will be disqualified.
  • Wikipedia may not be used as the primary reference material. Wikipedia is useful for an initial familiarization with a topic, but it is not considered a reliable source in academic circles. A Wikipedia article can be useful in providing reference to books and articles which can be used for further research.

An Entry Form must be filled out and attached to each essay.

Catholic School Entry Form

Homeschool Entry Form

DEADLINES

All mailed essays must be postmarked by midnight PST, Friday, December 16, 2016.

All e-mailed essays must be received by midnight PST, Friday, December 16, 2016.

Winners will be announced during Catholic Schools Week, January 29 – February, 2017.

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

We hope teachers will incorporate this essay contest into their lesson plans and encourage their students to participate. If done as a class assignment, teachers may collect and mail all the essays together to the listed address below.

Essays can be mailed via USPO to:

Catholic Textbook Project
Essay Contest
P.O. Box 1497
Tehachapi, CA 93581

Or they may be sent via email, attached in PDF format to: contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

Please contact Katherine at contest@catholictextbookproject.com with any questions.

Winners will be announced during Catholic Schools Week, January 29 – February, 2017.