About the Knight Essay Contest
Updated: 9/13/2018

"The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) invites all high school students (9th through 12th grades) interested in the American Revolution to participate in the George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest. The contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high schools in that same grade range. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the 2017-18 NASSP List of Approved Contests, Programs, and Activities for Students."

"To participate, students must submit an original 800 to 1,200 word essay based on an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution. Each student's essay will be judged based upon its historical accuracy, clarity, organization, grammar and spelling, and documentation."

"The contest is conducted in three phases: the local chapter, state-level society, and national phases. The contest must be entered through an SAR chapter near the student's residence. Only one entry per student is permitted per contest year."

(From the National SAR website: https://www.sar.org/education/youth-contests-awards/george-s-stella-m-knight-essay-contest)

Contest Rules

Contest entries must be submitted as PDF files attached to an email to the Contest Chairman.
The essay must have four parts:
  • Title Page
  • Essay Pages
  • Bibliography or Works Cited
  • 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.

Additional Contest Rules
  • Plagiarism will be grounds for immediate disqualification.
  • 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.)
  • An original copy of the essay must be submitted. Poor quality copies will not be accepted.
  • When counting words in a date, a numerical date (1776) or a date spelled out (Seventeen seventy-six) shall be counted as one word.
  • The essay must have a minimum of 800 words and not exceed 1,200 words (excluding title page, footnotes, bibliography page, and biography page).
  • Graphics are not permitted.
  • No bindings or special covers are needed.

Citations in the essay and references in the bibliography must be documented in accordance with a widely used and publicly available citation system. Examples of a citation system include the Chicago Manual of  Style, the MLA Manual of  Style, the MHRA Style Guide, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, and "Harvard referencing." The bibliography page must specify the system used.

Students must source at least five references with the minimum of three being published works to allow for verification of sources if necessary. References from encyclopedias or the Internet will be accepted, but are not considered as part of the three published book sources. If there are no published references, the essay will be disqualified.

Please follow these rules exactly as essays that don't conform may be immediately disqualified.

Click Here - Official Knight Essay Contest Rules from SAR National

Scoring (Maximum = 300 Points)

The Required Elements - (Max Credit = 25 Points)
  • The essay must have a cover sheet (Title Page) with the name, address, school, and telephone number of the entrant. (Possible 5 Points)
  • The topic of the essay must deal with an event, person, philosophy, or ideal associated with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution. (Possible 5 Points)
  • The essay must be typed and doubled spaced. (Possible 5 Points)
  • All references must be listed on the last page. (Bibliography) (Possible 5 Points)
  • No Plagiarism found in document. (Possible 5 Points)
  • * Are there any spelling errors? (Deduct 2 points for each word misspelled)

The Required Segments - (Max Credit = 100 Points)
  • The opening paragraph in which is found the thesis statement (or controlling idea of the essay) (Possible 34 Points)
  • The body (usually three paragraphs, each developing one aspect of the subject) (Possible 33 Points)
  • The final paragraph (the conclusion) where the paper is brought to close (the reader is brought back to the main idea, to paraphrase (state in another way) the thesis statement. (Possible 33 Points)

Additional Points - (Max Credit = 175 Points)
  • Is the thesis statement clear to the reader? (Possible 30 Points)
  • Does the thesis statement limit and focus the paper? (Possible 30 Points)
  • Does everything in the paper relate to the thesis? (Possible 25 Points)
  • Are all main points adequately supported with quotes and references; are they fully developed? (Possible 50 Points)
  • Do transitions connect the paragraphs of the essay? (Possible 20 Points)
  • Is the paper easy to read? (Possible 20 Points)

Knight Essay Contest Awards

Piedmont Chapter Winner 1st Place 2nd Place
Cash Prizes and Certificate $300 * $150
  • * The Piedmont Chapter winner qualifies for the State SAR competition.
  • * A contestant from Piedmont that finishes first in the State SAR competition will receive an additional $100.
  • All other applicants receive an SAR Certificate of Participation.
  • Judging is on individual applicants, not per school.
  • Entry deadline to the Piedmont Knight Essay contest is December 1st.

Georgia State SAR Winners 1st Place 2nd Place
Cash Prizes and Certificate $500 * $400
  • The Georgia SAR winner qualifies for the National SAR Knight Essay competition.
  • Entry deadline to the Georgia State SAR Knight Essay contest is December 15th. (by Contest Chairman)
  • Source: http://gasocietysar.org/youth-programs/the-george-s-stella-m-knight-essay-contest/
  • * State 1st place cash award changed at 7/28 State BOM meeting per G. Thurmond.

National Winners 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
Cash Prizes and Certificate $5,000 $2,500 $1000
  • National winner receives a medal and recognition certificate; up to $500 toward travel expenses and one-night hotel stay for the winner and chaperone at the annual SAR Congress held in July.
  • Source: https://sar.org/education/youth-contests-awards/george-s-stella-m-knight-essay-contest-rules#

Agreement by Participants

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.

Contest Deadline & Contact Information

Entries to the Knight Essay Contest must be submitted by December 15th.
Questions can be answered by the Piedmont Chapter & State SAR Contest Chairman.

Piedmont Chapter Contest Chairman
Stacey McCarver 404-831-2801 | Email

The Georgia State SAR Knight Essay Chairman:
Terry Gibbs | Email


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