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National essay opportunity

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wave Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

U.S. high school students and their teachers are invited to compete for nearly $200,000 in prize money by participating in the fourth annual Being an American Essay Contest.

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Top prize winners and their teachers will also receive all-expenses paid trips to the nation's capital. The largest high school essay contest in the country, awarding 180 students and teachers with cash prizes and attracting more than 31,000 essays last year, explores the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship.

The contest is administered by the Bill of Rights Institute, a non-profit educational organization in the Washington, D.C. area.

Specifically, students are asked to share their thoughts on American citizenship by answering the following question: "What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American?"

The top three student winners and their teachers from each of the nine geographical regions will be announced at a special Washington, D.C., Awards Gala in the spring of 2010, where they will be awarded cash prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,250.

The winning students will also explore the nation's capital, meet contemporary American heroes and national leaders, and visit national landmarks. Additionally, the contest will award 126 honorable mention prizes of $250 to seven students and their teachers from each region.

Further information is available at www.BeingAnAmerican.org.

The essay can be no longer than 750 words. Judging is based on adherence to essay question, originality, organization, writing style and depth of analysis. Deadline is Dec. 1.

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