Sar Essay Contest

Contest entries must be submitted as PDF files attached to emails.  The essay must have four parts: 1) title page, 2) essay pages, 3) bibliography or works cited, and 4) applicant's biography. The title page, bibliography, and applicant's biography must be listed on separate pages and no reference to the applicant's name or information can be part of the essay pages or bibliography. Please follow these rules exactly. Essays that do not conform to the rules may be immediately disqualified.

1) Title Page – The title page must include the following:

•    Title of the Essay
•    Applicant’s name, grade, address, phone number & email
•    Applicant’s high school’s name, address & phone number
•    Statement on how applicant learned about the contest (if from the Internet, include the URL of the website)

2) Essay Pages – The essay must:

•    Minimum of 800 and a maximum of 1,200 words (excluding title page, footnotes, bibliography, page and biography)
•    First page must include the title
•    No applicant information is on the essay pages
•    12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced
•    Use 8 ½” by 11” paper with 1” margins on all sides
•    Essay pages are numbered sequentially, starting with “1”
•    No graphics, special covers or bindings are allowed

3) Bibliography pages – The bibliography must:

•    Citations in the essay and references in the bibliography must be in accordance with a widely used, publicly available citation system  (Examples include the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Manual of Style, & the MHRA Style Guide)
•    The bibliography must specify the system used
•    No applicant information is in the bibliography
•    Minimum of 5 references, 3 of which must be published works (encyclopedias or internet sources are acceptable but not considered part of the 3 published works)

4) Biography page - The biography must:

•    Limited to one page.
•    Includes academic awards and achievements, school activities, community activities and plans for college.

Essays which meet the criteria above will be accepted and judged equally on the following criteria:
•    Historical accuracy
•    Clarity of thought
•    Organization and proven topic
•    Grammar and spelling
•    Documentation

Awards at the chapter and state level may vary. Please contact the specific chairmen for more information. Awards at the national level are as follows:

First place:

    $5,000; a medal and recognition certificate; up to $500 toward travel expenses and one-night hotel stay for the winner and a chaperone at the annual SAR Congress.

Second Place:

    $2,500 and a recognition certificate

Third Place:

    $1,000 and a recognition certificate

The winning essay of the national contest will be submitted for publication in the SAR Magazine. Participants in this contest agree that their essay may be published in the SAR Magazine and on the SAR Knight Essay Contest webpage. Winning essay participants, on all levels, may be required to supply a tax identification number in order to receive their award. By entering this contest, all participants agree that if their essay is chosen as the national winning essay, it will be the property of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). All participants further agree that the national winning essay may not be submitted to any other contest or used for any other purpose without the express permission of the national SAR Knight Essay Contest Chairman.

Applicants in the Knight Essay Contest agree that the interpretation of the rules and decisions of the National Chairman and its judges must govern without reservation and that decisions of the judges and/or the National Chairman are final and not subject to review.

Questions regarding specific rules may be directed to the national SAR Knight Essay Chairman:
    Mr. James M. Lindley        Email:

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) invites all high school students (9th through 12th grades) interested in the American Revolution to participate in the George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest. The contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high schools in that same grade range. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the 2017-18 NASSP List of Approved Contests, Programs, and Activities for Students.

To participate, students must submit an original 800- to 1,200-word essay based on an event, person, philosophy or ideal associated with the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution. Each student’s essay will be judged based upon its historical accuracy, clarity, organization, grammar and spelling, and documentation.

The contest is conducted in three phases: the local chapter, state-level society, and national phases. The contest must be entered through an SAR chapter near the student’s residence. In some cases, the contest may be entered at the state level (if the local society does not have chapters or the chapters are not participating) and a contact-at-large should be used to find out more contest details. The list of contest contacts listed below can provide you with assistance in entering the Knight Essay Contest. Only one entry per student is permitted per contest year.

A complete set of rules, along with the application for both the applicant and the sponsoring SAR members, can be found below. Please be aware that the local application deadline dates may vary, so interested applicants should reach out to their local SAR member listed below for further details.

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest Rules

George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Application Form


The current George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest Judge-at-Large is Mr. Christopher Smithson (

Previous Winners

The George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest Committee is proud to announce the winner of the national contest. Each year, the SAR receives an average of thirty state-level winners from around the country to compete in the national-level contest. Visitors can find a list of the previous George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest national winners below.

YearWinning EssayistSponsoring SAR Society
2016Joseph NusbaumFlorida SAR
2015Matthew PenzaConnecticut SAR
2014Elizabeth LillyVirginia SAR
2013Bryan HabashiVirginia SAR
2012Katie LavenderVirginia SAR
2011Amanda SchanzVirginia SAR
2010Cody E. NagerEmpire State SAR
2009Hayley SchoepplerWisconsin SAR
2008Jenna BarkerSouth Carolina SAR
2007Derek McMahanKentucky SAR
2006Kristin PersoniusTexas SAR
2005H. Curtis KuntzPennsylvania SAR
2004Daniel E. Sigler
Empire State SAR
2003Daniel E. SiglerGeorgia SAR
2002Nathan W. SkellyMissouri SAR
2001Stephanie CondonCalifornia SAR
2000Jenna DonderoTexas SAR
1999Courtney PowellVirginia SAR
1998Kimberly BraunDelaware SAR
1997John RacksonMaryland SAR
1996Justin JaeckWisconsin SAR
1995Catherine ClaytonTexas SAR


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