North Carolina SAR Knight Essay Contest Chairman:

History of the George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest

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

Sample Knight Essay

Contest Rules

  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).
    1. Contestants shall be in the freshman, sophomore, junior or senior grade of study during the contest year.
    2. 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. In some cases, the contest may be entered at the State level (if the State does not have chapters or the chapters are not participating). Only one entry per student is permitted per contest year. The first place National winner is prohibited from participating in the following years’ contest.
    3. The deadline for submission to the NC SAR is December 31st. Postmarks after December 31st will not be accepted.
  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.
  3. The essay must have four parts:
    1. Title page
    2. Essay pages
    3. Bibliography (works cited)
    4. 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.

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.

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). One or two letter words such as I, to, and we are not counted. When counting words in a date, a numerical date (1776) or a date spelled out (seventeen seventy-six) shall be counted as one word. Names of places such as New York City shall be counted as one word.

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. The essay and bibliography must be documented in accordance with the Modern Language Association publication, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or Kate L. Turabian’s publication, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Students must source at least five (5) references with the minimum of 3 being book sources. References from Encyclopedias or Internet sites will be accepted, but are not considered as part of the three source references. The use of all electronic sources will cause the essay to be disqualified. 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. The deadline for submission to the NC SAR is 31 December. Entries sent through the USPS must be sent in a manner that prevents the document being folded. Essays may be submitted electronically by floppy disk, CD, or email in the following formats only:
    • Microsoft Word Document (.doc)
    • Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  5. Essays which meet the criteria in Rules 1-4 above will be accepted and judged equally on the following criteria.
    1. Historical accuracy
    2. Clarity of thought
    3. Organization and proven topic
    4. Grammar and spelling
    5. Documentation
  6. AWARDS:
    • Chapter:
    • North Carolina SAR:
      • First Place: $750; a winning recognition certificate, and a medal awarded at the State Convention.
    • 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 National Congress.
      • 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 SAR Knight Essay Contest web page. 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 NC SAR and its judges must govern without reservation.

Please follow the rules exactly. Essays that do not conform to the rules will be disqualified.