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American Revolution Patriots Essay Contest

Knight Essay Contest

George S. and Stellla M. Knight

  This contest was originally named in honor of SAR Compatriot President Calvin Coolidge who won an SAR essay contest while a student at Amherst College. The contest was reestablished in 1988 by SAR Compatriot McCarthy DeMere.

  In 1995, the contest was renamed the George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest in honor of their generous gift to the SAR to support this contest.  The contest is designed to give high school students an opportunity to explore events that shaped American History.

  Contestants shall be in the freshman, sophomore, junior or senior grade of study during the contest year. The contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high schools in that same grade range.



Essays which meet the Rules will be accepted and judged equally on the following:
A)  Historical accuracy
B)  Clarity of thought
C)  Organization and proven topic
D)  Grammar and spelling
E)  Documentation.

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

DEADLINES  (The applicant year is the is the calendar year, 01Jan through 31Dec)
Applicant entry to local Chapters:  31 December  
Chapter entry to State Society:  31 January  
State Society candidate to National Society:  28 February


First place:$5,000
Second Place:$2,500
Third Place: $1000​

Contest entries must be submitted as PDF files attached to emails.  The essay must have four parts: 1) title page, 2) essay pages, 3) bibliography or works cited, and 4) 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. Please follow these rules exactly. Essays that do not conform to the rules may be immediately disqualified.

1) Title Page – The title page must include the following:

•    Title of the Essay
•    Applicant’s name, grade, address, phone number & email
•    Applicant’s high school’s name, address & phone number
•    Statement on how applicant learned about the contest (if from the Internet, include the URL of the website)

2) Essay Pages – The essay must:

•    Minimum of 800 and a maximum of 1,200 words (excluding title page, footnotes, bibliography, page and biography)
•    First page must include the title
•    No applicant information is on the essay pages
•    12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced
•    Use 8 ½” by 11” paper with 1” margins on all sides
•    Essay pages are numbered sequentially, starting with “1”
•    No graphics, special covers or bindings are allowed

3) Bibliography pages – The bibliography must:

•    Citations in the essay and references in the bibliography must be in accordance with a widely used, publicly available citation system  (Examples include the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Manual of Style, & the MHRA Style Guide)
•    The bibliography must specify the system used
•    No applicant information is in the bibliography
•    Minimum of 5 references, 3 of which must be published works (encyclopedias or internet sources are acceptable but not considered part of the 3 published works)

4) Biography page - The biography must:

•    Limited to one page.
•    Includes academic awards and achievements, school activities, community activities and plans for college.

Essays which meet the criteria above will be accepted and judged equally on the following criteria:
•    Historical accuracy
•    Clarity of thought
•    Organization and proven topic
•    Grammar and spelling
•    Documentation

Awards at the chapter and state level 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 webpage. 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 (SAR). All participants further agree that the national winning essay may not be submitted to any other contest or used for any other purpose without the express permission of the national SAR Knight Essay Contest Chairman.

Applicants in the Knight Essay Contest agree that the interpretation of the rules and decisions of the National Chairman and its judges must govern without reservation and that decisions of the judges and/or the National Chairman are final and not subject to review.

Questions regarding specific rules may be directed to the national SAR Knight Essay Chairman:
    Mr. James M. Lindley        Email: