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Art & Essay Contest - GRADES 7-11

Students Grades 7 – 11

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Greenberg Traurig, LLP, in partnership with NIE Chicago Tribune and The Mash announce the 2016 student essay and art contest on the First Amendment. Students in grades 7 through 11 at the date of submitting their entry are invited to participate.

Students submit an essay or create a work of art that best addresses the following assignment:

Describe or portray how one or more of the five freedoms in the First Amendment personally affects your daily life.

  • First Place winners in each category will receive $5000
  • Second Place winners will receive $1000
  • The teacher with the most entries will receive $1000

Scholarships provided by a generous anonymous donor, the Harold R. Burnstein Future Leaders Merit Award Endowment Fund and the Kathleen Hart Solovy Scholarship Endowment Fund

Rules and Guidelines

  • Only one entry per student per Essay and Art Category
  • All entries must be postmarked by September 30, 2016
  • Send entries to:
    ADL First Amendment Freedoms Contest
    c/o Anti-Defamation League
    120 S. LaSalle, Suite 1150
    Chicago, IL 60603
  • Employees of the Chicago Tribune, The Mash, ADL, and Greenberg Traurig, LLP, their boards of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest.
  • Entrants must submit an original and unpublished essay. The essay must be solely the work of the entrant.
  • The essay must be typed in 12-point font minimum and double-spaced on 8.5” x 11” unlined paper with 1.25” margins.
  • The essay must be written in the English language.
  • The essay must not exceed 2 pages.
  • The entrant’s name, school, or city should not appear anywhere on the essay pages.
  • Entrants must complete an entry form and staple it to the front of their essay. The entry form must include the following information:
    • student’s name, home address, and phone number; teacher’s name;
    • the name and address of entrant’s current school; and
    • the name of the school and grade level entrant will be entering in the fall of 2016.
  • Teachers may submit entries for students; however, to qualify, each student essay must include a completed entry form stapled to the front of the essay.
  • Entrants must submit an original, unpublished work of art – illustration, photograph or video. Illustration and photograph submissions should not exceed 18” x 24”. Video submissions must not exceed 2 minutes. Sculpture and multi-dimensional art pieces are not permitted.
  • Art submissions may be in one or more of the following media: painting (choice of watercolor, acrylic, ink, oil, and other), drawing, collage, print (including silk-screens, lithographs, etc), and video.
  • Photographs may be color or black and white.
  • It is recommended that illustrations and photographs be mounted on poster board.
  • Video submissions should be in DVD format.
  • The entrant’s name, school, or city should not appear anywhere on the artwork.
  • Entrants must submit along with artwork a one-paragraph explanation of what his/her artwork represents. The entrant’s name, school, or city should NOT appear anywhere in the paragraph.
  • Entrants must complete an entry form and securely clip it to the front of their artwork. The entry form must include the following information:
    • student’s name, home address, and phone number; teacher’s name;
    • the name and address of entrant’s current school; and
    • the name of the school and grade level entrant will be entering in the fall of 2016.
  • Teachers may submit entries for students; however, to qualify, each piece of artwork must include a completed entry form attached to the FRONT of the artwork.
  • Each entry will be evaluated and numbered as it advances. Entry forms are removed during the judging process to ensure that judging is based solely on the merit of the essay or artwork.
  • Winners will be selected from each category: essay and artwork.
  • Students will be entered into one of two current grade groups: 7–8 or 9–11.
  • Essays will be judged on content, clarity, creativity, originality, conciseness, organization, and correct spelling and grammar appropriate to entrant’s grade level. Artwork will be judged on originality, creativity, design, and interpretation of the theme appropriate to entrant’s grade level.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • Once the judging has been completed, entry forms will be reattached to winning essays and artwork and winners and their teachers, if applicable, will be notified.
  • Winners will be notified on or before November 3, 2016. Winners, along with their teacher and parents/guardians will be invited to attend the ADL’s 2016 Freedom Award Dinner.
  • Winners will be announced at ADL’s Freedom Award Dinner.
  • Contest winners may be asked to present their work at the Freedom Award Dinner.
  • Winners and their parents or legal guardians must sign the Permission and Release Form in order to receive their prizes. The Permission and Release form states that you grant permission for ADL to (1) publish and edit the essay or artwork; (2) use the essay or artwork for advertising and promotional purposes without further compensation; and (3) photograph, videotape, or record an interview with the student about the contest and their essay or artwork.
  • First Place winners in each grade category will receive $5,000. Second Place winners will receive $1,000.
  • The classroom teacher with the most entries will be invited to the awards dinner and will receive $1,000. The school with the most entries will receive an Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute educational workshop.
  • The Chicago Tribune, The Mash, Anti-Defamation League, and Greenberg Traurig, LLP are not responsible for lost, damaged, or mishandled entries.
  • Essays and artwork will not be returned. All entries will become the sole property of the Anti-Defamation League.