Student Essay Contest
Shepherd students are encouraged to enter the Common Reading Student Essay Contest. Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and are being accepted now through April 1, 2022. The winner will receive $350 toward Shepherd tuition and/or textbooks. Entries are judged by a panel of three faculty members using a rubric developed by the English Department. Essays written for a specific class or other assignment are acceptable. Choose one of the following prompts related to “Harriet Tubman” to write about. Follow the guidelines below to ensure your essay meets submission requirements.
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom: Common Reading Student Essay Contest
Catherine Clinton writes, “Over the years Harriet Tubman’s charitable endeavors became a symbol for reformers, and her accomplishments the proof that individual dreams can shape a collective reality” (191). Indeed, Tubman serves as a role model for a life of meaningful service. Write an essay that builds on this idea, using one of the two approaches below:
- Write about someone who you think epitomizes Tubman’s model, using their time, energy, and talents to shape a better world. This can be someone you know or someone you have never met but admire. Be specific in your essay, drawing connections between this person and Tubman’s example.
- Write about how you want to follow Tubman’s example in your own life. What individual dreams drive you towards shaping a better world for yourself and others? How are you making those dreams a reality? Be specific, drawing upon Clinton’s text as you connect your own dreams and work to what you have learned about Tubman’s life.
A winning entry does/has the following elements:
- A clear and coherent thesis statement/main idea that appears in the first paragraph and clearly relates to the prompt you have selected. A reader should be able to easily identify this sentence and say “THIS is what this paper is about.” A good response is not a summary of the text.
- Textual evidence to support each point and move your argument along. Every claim you make should be supported with evidence from the text. Make sure this evidence is integrated into your overall argument. Do not simply drop in quotations without any analysis (explaining how they advance your main idea). Avoid quoting extremely long passages, especially without analysis.
- A coherent, clear structure. Each paragraph should:
- Move the argument or main idea along.
- Have a strong topic sentence.
- Move to the next section with clear transitions
- A conclusion. Your piece should have some sort of conclusion that wraps things up, even if all you do is raise more questions.
- Proper formatting. This includes:
- A title for your essay.
- Typed; double-spaced; in a reasonable font (Times New Roman 12 pt. or Arial 11 pt.); one-inch margins all around; stapled; your name, the course title (if applicable), the instructor’s name (if applicable), and the date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page; page numbers should appear on the upper right-hand corner of each page.
- No spelling or grammatical mistakes.
- Appropriate length: About 600-750 words (at least 2 full pages).