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Posted on: August 21, 2020


U.S. Constitution on early American flag with candle, quill, and spectacles.

Anticipating Monday’s launch of the much-anticipated 2020-21 school year, we’re delighted to declare the return, for its seventh annual  installment, of the Pasco Clerk & Comptroller’s Constitution Essay Contest. Clerk Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, Esq., welcomes and encourages ALL Pasco fifth-graders to enter.

Yes, ALL! Public and charter school students, those in private and parochial schools, students learning remotely, and students who are home-schooled.

To elaborate:

On September 17, 1787, 39 courageous, far-sighted patriots gathered in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall under the watch of George Washington to sign the United States Constitution, inaugurating the phrase that has resounded and inspired across generations: “We the People.”

In seven articles encompassing 4,200 words, the document – the governing embodiment of the Declaration of Independence adopted in the same room 11 years earlier – established three coequal branches of government to carry out carefully enumerated powers while holding each other accountable using checks and balances.

Still, state legislatures worried about the excesses threatened by a strong, distant central government. When James Madison authored – and Congress adopted – the Bill of Rights, resistance dissolved, and 13 independent states became the United States of America.

More than 230 years later, the United States spans a continent, its beacon of liberty shining into every dark corner of the world, and We the People still enjoy the freedoms hammered out during that long-ago summer in Philadelphia.

In celebration of the framers and Constitution Day – September 17 – Clerk Alvarez-Sowles invites all Pasco County fifth-grade students to participate in our seventh annual Constitution Essay Contest.

Competition winners will be selected by a panel of judges (all professional writers and editors) who will receive the essays with an assigned number but otherwise stripped of identification. First-, second-, and third-place winners will be presented an elegant trophy, a medal, and a gift card, and will be introduced at a meeting of the Pasco County School Board.

Honorable mention certificates, suitable for framing, also will be awarded.

Again, Clerk Alvarez-Sowles encourages all Pasco fifth-graders to participate: public school, charter school, parochial, private, virtual, and home school. All Pasco fifth-graders are welcome!

The deadline for entries is September 30. Winners will be announced October 22.

Da Rules:

1. Each essay should be no longer than 300 words. This will be strictly enforced; essays longer than 300 words shall be disqualified.
2. Submissions will be judged on the essayist’s understanding of the issue, clarity, presentation, grammar, and spelling. The participant should respond to the question, “Why is the United States Constitution Important?”
3. Submissions must include the writer’s name, age, grade, school, school address, contact telephone, and parent email address. (These are not counted against the 300-word limitation.) The contest winner will be notified by telephone.
4. One essay per student. Each essay should be the sole product of the student’s work.
5. Each essay must be submitted to the following email address: Only MS-Word and PDF documents will be accepted.
6. Deadline for submissions is September 30.
7. Winners will be announced October 22.

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