Deadline Approaches for Constitution Essay Contest

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Deadline Approaches for Constitution Essay Contest

Richard Bammer, Vacaville Reporter

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Open to all Solano 7th- to 12th-grade students, contest entries must be submitted by Oct. 19

America’s founding leaders, many of them steeped in classical Greek and Roman literature, believed the rule of law was a fundamental principle of a free and just government. John Adams of Massachusetts, the second president, once wrote that good government and the very definition of a republic “is an empire of laws.” He enshrined the idea in the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, by seeking to establish “a government of laws and not of men.”

In modern times, the expression “rule of law” gained currency during the Watergate hearings that doomed Richard Nixon’s presidency in the early 1970s, and, more recently, again surfacing amid the Russia investigation and tax fraud allegations swirling around President Donald Trump.

The principles girding the U.S. Constitution, the shortest and oldest document of its kind in the world, are clear: No one is above the law, not even the President of the United States. Additionally and no less important, everyone is entitled to equal protection of the laws, as expressed in the 14th Amendment. These beliefs and the law are germane to the 2018 Solano County Constitution Essay Contest, open to all students countywide in grades seven to 12, and may spark interest in some who try their hand at thinking and writing about the contest’s topic: “Why must the rule of law be upheld equally to preserve the liberties we enjoy as Americans today?”

Deadline for entries is noon Oct. 19, and must be sent to [email protected].

To download entry forms, visit

For more information, reading selections and related contest information, contact Colleen Britton of Vacaville, contest organizer, chair of Constitution Literacy Advocates, and president of the Vaca Valley Tea Party group. Her phone number is 514-0360.

This year marks the contest’s seventh year, and Britton, in a press release, noted some changes: Two grand prize minigrant awards, for the winning high school entry — $700 (grades 10 to 12); and for the winning middle school entry — $300 (grades seven to nine). Home-schooled students with the county are also eligible, but the home schools must be affiliated with a nonprofit organization. Teachers and schools of the grand prize and best of school winners also will receive awards.

Best of School Awards of $100, in the form of a minigrant, will be given for every school with 30 or more essay entries. A total of $5,500 in minigrants may be awarded this year.

But if a school plans to submit 30 or more entries, a teacher or administrator should contact Britton.

Besides being an original work that has not appeared before in any medium, the essays must be no more than 500 words. They will be judged primarily on strength of the content (poor spelling, grammar and punctuation will not help a student’s chances). Any quotations or copyrighted material used in the essay must be properly identified or credited.

The contest’s minigrant awards come from the Constitution Education Project Fund, a fund of the nonprofit Solano Community Foundation.

PUBLISHED: October 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm | UPDATED: October 2, 2018 at 5:34 pm

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