Each February, we reflect upon the countless African Americans who have contributed greatly to Florida’s rich history and who continue to help our state and nation thrive. To help ensure all Florida students develop a deep appreciation for these contributions, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott host annual student art and essay contests, with three students earning a 4-Year Florida Prepaid College Plan scholarship from the Florida Prepaid Foundation.
The 2018 theme is “A Celebration of Innovative African-American Leaders,” and this is a tremendous opportunity that brings with it the potential to change the lives of three Florida students and their families.
We want as many students as possible to participate and submit the best essays possible, so we have compiled some student-focused tips to help your child’s writing stand out – in this contest and beyond.
Commit: The submission deadline is March 2, 2018, so the time to start is now!
Read the directions: It’s as simple as it sounds. Just like classroom assignments, this contest has specific instructions that must be followed to avoid disqualification. Heed the word limits and remember to include the required accompanying documents. The guidelines are posted here.
Originality: Before you begin writing, do your research. Consider choosing (from a reputable source, of course) an individual with whom you are unfamiliar. When scoring essays for contests like this one, judges often see many essays about the same person. Going out of your way to find a less well known person may make your essay more memorable. Be sure to cite your sources and never, ever plagiarize.
Structure: Make sure that your essay uses strong grammar and proper sentence structure. Start with an introduction. Include at least three strong points regarding the topic, and end with a bold conclusion that paraphrases your previously mentioned points. Typically, well-organized pieces earn higher scores.
Proofread: After you finish your essay, review it to check spelling, punctuation, grammar and content. After writing a great essay, the last thing you want is to have points deducted for simple errors. Reading your essay aloud may bring attention to any mistakes you missed in your initial review. It is also a good idea to ask a family member or teacher to look over your essay and provide feedback.
All of the contest details and additional information on Florida’s Black History Month activities are posted online at www.floridablackhistory.com.