Uni holocaust and Genocide Program 2009 Essay Contest Task

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UNI Holocaust and Genocide Program
2009 Essay Contest


Respond to the essay contest theme--“Remembering the Holocaust, Standing Up to Genocide”--in English in a well-organized, well-reasoned essay between 1,000 and 1,500 words. Include standardized citations and a bibliography. (These are not included in the 1,500-word count.)


Students are eligible to participate if they are in grades 9-12 attending a public, private, or parochial school.


The deadline for applications (e-mail submission only) for the essay contest is March 13, 2009. Winners will be notified via e-mail by April 7, 2009.


The first-place winner will receive $100 and the second-prize winner will receive $50.

The first and second-place winners agree to present a 5-minute version of the essay at the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Waterloo (site to be determined) on Tuesday evening, April 21, at 7:00.
Contest Coordinators

The contest coordinator will be a teacher (or group of teachers) who will

  • choose how the contest will be conducted—for example, uses the study guide in class and uses the essays as graded assignments

  • provide students with contest information

  • ensure that essays are conceived and written by students and represent the students' own thoughts

  • select the best two essays based on the guidelines and evaluation criteria provided

  • submit electronically each selected essay with the completed cover sheet to the Holocaust and Genocide Education Committee at the University of Northern Iowa for consideration. Please e-mail the files as MS-Word attachments to this address: legacy09@uni.edu

How Do I Write the Essay?

For the purposes of this Essay Contest, an essay is a three-part paper that states and develops a position in response to the essay contest topic. Although researching the topic to find examples that support your points is crucial to writing your essay, it should be more than a research paper, a narrative description of an event, or a statement of opinion.

Your essay should contain the following:
An introduction, which introduces the subject and contains an explanation of your position. The objective is to demonstrate that you understand the essay contest question and have formed a response to it.

A body, which develops your argument using research and analysis. The process of analysis may include comparing and contrasting, differentiating among several ideas or events, critiquing a variety of perspectives, interpreting results, or drawing inferences. In this section, you should analyze two case studies. Be sure to identify the sources of your information or ideas.

A conclusion, which summarizes the research and analysis presented in the essay and sets forth your conclusions. Drawing on ideas already presented, you should demonstrate that your conclusions support the position you put forward in the opening paragraphs. Your aim is to convince the reader that your position is reasonable and valid.

Your essay should also include notes and a bibliography except when using APA style:

Reference notes (footnotes or endnotes) give the sources of your information or ideas. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page where the information appears. Alternatively, you may gather all the notes at the end of the text as endnotes.

A bibliography is a list of the works that you have referred to in your essay or have consulted in order to write it. Citations in the reference notes or bibliography should follow rules given in a handbook such as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or the Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Typically an entry will have at least the name of the author or editor, title of the work, and date and place of publication. The bibliography should be arranged alphabetically by the last names of the authors.

Note: Your essay will be disqualified if it plagiarizes—that is, uses someone else's statements or ideas as your own.

Essay Submission of School Finalists

  • Your name and your school’s name must not appear anywhere on the essay.

  • Type your essay, double-spaced, on one side of white 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper with left and right margins set at 1 1/4 inches each.

  • Number the pages of your essay.

  • Include your name, school, and address ONLY on the provided cover sheet.

  • Submit an electronic copy of your essay along with the cover sheet to the contest coordinator at your school.


How Will Your Essay Be Judged?

Members of the UNI Holocaust and Genocide Education Committee and people with high school teaching experience will select the winning essays.
Your essay will be judged based on the seven criteria outlined below.
Focus: Examines how well your essay responds to the questions and/or tasks presented. Does the essay provide specific and thorough responses to all of the questions and/or tasks presented? An excellent essay provides specific and thorough responses to all of the questions and/or tasks presented.

Organization: Looks at the structure of your essay and the strength of your thesis statement. Does the essay have an organized structure? An excellent essay has an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The organization includes an excellent thesis and moves the reader through the text.

Analysis: Considers how well your arguments are supported. Are the discussion points argued coherently and supported with research? In an excellent essay all of the arguments are strong, well detailed and extremely well supported by convincing and accurate evidence.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Examines how well conclusions and recommendations are expressed and how closely they follow from the analysis. Conclusions and recommendations should not present new information that is not a part of the analysis: Does the essay provide sound conclusions and recommendations that follow from the analysis? An excellent essay provides a coherent and comprehensive summary based on the analysis. All of the solutions to the problems presented are specific and well thought out.

Originality: Looks for creativity in writing. Does the writer use develop ideas creatively? In an excellent essay, the writer proposes and develops creative ideas, through the selection of cases and/or examples, to present novel analysis and alternatives throughout the entire essay.

Voice: Considers how well your writing engages the reader. Is the essay compelling and/or engaging? An excellent essay fully captures the reader's attention. The flow of the essay keeps the reader engaged throughout the entire text.

Style and Mechanics: Examines how well the essay is written in terms of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as word choice and sentence construction. Is the essay well written? An excellent essay uses standard writing conventions correctly, e.g. grammar, spelling, and punctuation, with no errors. There are no errors in word choice and all sentences are well constructed.

The above guidelines and evaluation criteria have been adopted with some modification from those published by the United States Institute of Peace as part of the 2008-2009 National Peace Essay Contest (www.usip.org/ed/npec/). Used by permission.

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