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This contest was originally named in honor of SAR Compatriot President Calvin Coolidge who won an SAR essay contest while a student at Amherst. The contest was reestablished in 1988 by 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.This contest is open to all high school sophomore, juniors, and seniors. It is ideal for students who do not feel comfortable giving an oration but who can write what they think is going to happen to this country in the future.  The essay must be original, in English, typewritten, double spaced and must have a minimum of 800 words and not exceed 1200 words excluding the title page, footnotes, bibliography and biography. 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.


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

Submission deadline December 31 each year.


Chapter Level Prize:  1st place is $500; 2nd place is $200;  3rd place is $100

State Level Prizes:      1st place is $750; 2nd place is $300;  3rd place is $150

National Level Prizes: 1st place is $6,000;  2nd place is $3,000;  3rd place is $2,000


Contest Poster (docx)

Contest rules (PDF)

Contest Application Form (PDF)




For more information please contact  Bruce Smith

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