Dear Mr. President Support
The Dear Mr. President Essay Contest is a national contest designed to inspire young people in grades 7–12 (ages 13–20) and advance writing skills through meaningful, relevant instruction. The contest encourages these students to celebrate the democratic process in the United States through original persuasive writing tied to the Common Core State Standards for writing.
No, each student can only submit one essay. However, you may revise an essay after submitting.
The contest starts on August 15th, 2012 and ends on November 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM PST.
Rand McNally and a group of professional educators from across the country will evaluate the essays using a standard evaluation rubric. Finalists and Grand Prize winners will be chosen by Rand McNally.
I’m a teacher who has a child in another school. May I enter an essay on behalf of my child, who is not in my class?
You may submit the essay as a parent. Students may enter the contest by submitting their own essay. However, as part of the submission process, students are required to include information about their teacher. The intent of the program is that the students, teachers and schools are all affiliated. This is a good opportunity for parents to reach out to their child’s school and teacher(s) and encourage them to participate in the program.
Yes. If you are the teacher, whether affiliated with a school system or in a home school arrangement, of a child in grades 7–12, ages 13–20, and you are at least 21 years old, you are eligible to participate in the program.
I teach history and I would like to enter the Dear Mr. President contest, but some of my students will be entering the contest with their English teacher. Can I still register a student in my history class?
Yes, you can still register. But each student will be allowed to submit only one essay for judging. This means that if you have students who will be participating in the contest with another teacher, and the student submits an essay from each class, the essay with the most recent time stamp at the end of the contest will be judged in the contest.
Are all after-school programs/participants eligible to enter or would they need to be affiliated with a school?
“Dear Mr. President” would serve as a wonderful after-school program activity, as long as it is affiliated with a teacher and a school. After-school programs for students in grades 7–12, ages 13–20 may participate. The rules are the same: Students can register and submit essays in two ways. (1) Their teacher can register and submit the essay for them, or (2) students may register and submit their own essay, but must still enter information about their teacher and school.
Yes. A librarian who teaches students in grades 7–12, ages 13–20, and is at least 21 years old may register and participate in the program. You may register as a teacher and submit the student essays. Remember that students may be working on the contest with their regular teachers, so they should keep in mind that the most recent essay will be judged for the contest.
I’d like to incorporate this essay into my regular classroom instruction. Am I allowed to help my students revise their essays to final drafts, as I typically would with any writing assignment?
Absolutely! We encourage teachers to incorporate this writing experience into their lesson plans. In fact, when you register for the contest, you’ll have access to Teacher Lesson Plans, Student Activity Guides, and correlations to the Common Core Standards.
No. All essays must be submitted via the website.
I teach 7th grade and some of my students are 12 years old. The contest rules say that the contest is open to students who are 13–20. Does this mean I can’t register?
You may register. However, you may only submit essays for students who are between the ages of 13 and 20 as part of the contest.
The contest rules state that the contest is open to 7th – 12th grade students, and that the age range is 13 to 20 years of age. I’m a 7th grade teacher. About 30% of my students will be 12 when the essays would be submitted, but they will be 13 years old by the end of the school year. Are these students eligible to enter?
Students must be 13 years of age by the start of the contest, which is August 15, 2012. In Rand McNally’s efforts to comply with applicable laws including The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, effective April 21, 2000, which applies to the online collection of personal information from children under 13, we at Rand McNally have decided to limit Contest eligibility to children 13 years or older. In that regard, the Official Rules for this Contest were drafted accordingly. Please keep your eyes open for future Rand McNally contests for which your students may then be eligible.
One of my students would like to enter the contest but she won’t be able to attend the awards ceremony. Is she still eligible to enter the contest?
Yes, your student is still eligible to enter. If a student becomes a finalist and cannot travel to participate in the awards ceremony, he or she can still win the grand prize. Please keep in mind that if a student chooses not to travel to during the dates determined by Rand McNally, then the trip including the airfare will be forfeited. Also, the winner must still comply with all other requirements listed in the Official Rules.
We are providing the answers in an attempt to answer questions posed in connection with this contest. The answers are intended to clarify the Official Rules but do not in any way attempt to amend or override them. Please be sure consult the Official Rules for other eligibility requirements.