Secretary of State announces civics essay contest

Published 2:32 pm Monday, August 22, 2022

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The theme for this year’s Civics Essay Contest for Tennessee students from PreK to 12th grade is “Why Your Vote Matters,” the Secretary of State’s Office announced.

“We are working to help Tennessee students become more civically educated so that as adults they are prepared to successfully participate in our electoral process,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “One of the most fundamental aspects of preparing future voters is understanding why your vote matters.”

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Civics Essay Contest winners will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship and a trip to the State Capitol. First place winners in each grade level will receive a $500 scholarship, with second and third place winners receiving $250 and $100, respectively.

All Tennessee students in public, charter, private school or home school associations in grades PreK to 12 are encouraged to participate. Schools can choose up to two essays from each grade level to submit for the contest. Visit for complete contest rules and to submit essays online through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

The Secretary of State’s office launched the Civics Essay Contest in 2016. Previous essay themes have included voting, citizenship, leadership and civic duty.

The Civics Essay Contest corresponds with the Student Mock Election which are part of Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s longstanding civics engagement program that aims to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens. The Secretary of State also offers lesson plans to help teachers to incorporate civic engagement and citizenship into their curriculum. The free lesson plans were created by Tennessee teachers and are based on the Tennessee Blue Book.

For more information about the Civics Essay Contest and the Secretary of State’s other civic engagement education efforts, visit