—INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS—
This guide provides information for teachers as to how the essay prompt aligns with the Florida high school curriculum standards and how teachers may promote the essay contest in their classrooms. The Contest Rules, submission requirements, and deadlines are available on the Middle District's website at www.flmd.uscourts.gov.
We hope you will encourage your students to participate in the 2023 essay contest. Some teachers will qualify for a $500 classroom grant, and the school with the most qualifying submissions will receive $1,000. The schools with the second and third most qualifying submissions will receive $500 and $250. Accordingly, your students may ask for your contact information to include in their online contest Entry Form. In promoting the essay contest to your students, you may want to emphasize the benefits listed below and review with them or direct them to the Contest Home Page, which includes links to the Contest Rules and past winning essays.
- Cash prizes for the top ten winners.
- Grants for teachers and school.
- Recognition ceremony on Monday, December 11, 2023, at 4:30 p.m., in Courtroom 14 B, at the Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse.
- Opportunity to shadow a federal judge.
- Opportunity to create a writing sample for college and scholarship applications.
- Opportunity to develop research skills and learn more about the historical and enduring significance of the phrase, "no taxation without representation," as embodied in the Constitution.
The essay prompt aligns with several English Language Arts and Social Studies CPALMS and BEST standards: CPALMS SS.912.CG.2; CPALMS SS.912.S.6; CPALMS SS.912.S.7; CPALMS SS.912.S.8; BEST ELA Standard C.4.1; BEST ELA Standard C.1.2.
The essays will be scored by lawyers and judges in the Tampa Division. Their decisions will be final. The essay graders will evaluate the essays based on the following categories, which directly align with CPALMS and BEST standards as indicated:
- Identification of Personal Example: An above average essay will identify a personal example in which the concept of "governance without a say" applies to the student’s life and effectively explain why that example was selected.
- Analysis & Coherence: An above average essay will analyze and explain how the Constitution embodies the concept of "no taxation without representation" by reference to specific language in the Constitution itself and to external sources such as Supreme Court decisions, legislative history, or commentaries, and will articulate how the Constitutional language applies to the personal example identified.
- Creativity: An above average essay will be creative, thought-provoking, and interesting.
- Writing Style & Proofreading: An above average essay will contain few to no punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization errors and use precise, topic-appropriate language and vocabulary.