National Civics Bee®: Battle Creek Area Chamber Foundation
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Essay Topic

Identify a problem facing your community. How might a citizen solve the problem? Write a 500-word essay that includes the following:

  • What is the problem, and how do different members in your community or neighborhood view it?
  • What civic principles or systems could help to address the problem?
  • What is your idea or recommendation for solving the problem?
  • What primary sources, such as the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution, provide supporting evidence or examples for your idea or recommendation?
  • How might members of your community or neighborhood bring your idea or recommendation to life?

Judging Criteria 

Your essay will be evaluated based on how well you:

•    Demonstrate an understanding of civics.
•    Acknowledge and address opposing points of view.
•    Acknowledge and address at least one Founding Principle and one Civic Virtue.
•    Use primary sources, like newspapers, data, historical documents, images, or other documents that relate to your idea.
•    Clearly describe an idea innovative or new to you.

Local Prizes

First Place: $500 cash prize

Second Place: $250 cash prize

Third Place: $125 cash prize

State Prizes

First Place: $1,000 cash prize 

Second Place: $500 cash prize 

Third Place: $250 cash prize 

Each finalist receives a certificate. 

About the Bee

The National Civics Bee® is an annual competition that encourages young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities. In the first round of the contest, local 6th, 7th and 8th grade students will participate in an essay competition. Judges will then select 20 finalists to participate in the local competition: a live quiz event testing civics knowledge. Then, the top 3 students from each local competition will advance to the state competition. 

OFFICIAL RULES OF THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOUNDATION NATIONAL CIVICS BEE® CONTEST (“OFFICIAL RULES”) 

Sponsor:

The sponsor of the contest is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 1615 H Street NW, Washington D.C., 20062 (“Sponsor”).  The co-sponsors of the contest are Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce, 34 West Jackson, Suite 3A, Battle Creek, MI 49017 and Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 600 South Walnut Street, Lansing, MI 48933 (“Co-Sponsors”).

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. ALL APPLICABLE FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL REGULATIONS APPLY.

Eligibility for Entry:

To be eligible to participate in the National Civics Bee®, an applicant (“Entrant”) must:

  1. Be a student in grades six through eight at the time of entry;
  2. Enter only one local chamber competition, which must be in their state of residence;
  3. Be the sole author of their entry – no group entries or entries written by parents will be accepted;
  4. Submit their entry in the English language;
  5. Submit a new, unique entry, if they’ve participated in any pastNational Civics Bee® contests;
  6. Agree to all National Civics Bee® Rules, including potentially attending the local, state, and national competitions. 

Employees, officers, and directors of the Sponsor or Co-Sponsors and any affiliated entities, and their respective immediate families (parents, spouses, children, siblings) or individuals residing in their household (whether or not related) are not eligible entrants.

Term:  

The Contest began on November 13 at 12:01 a.m. [U.S. TIMEZONE] and ends January 8 at 11:59 pm [U.S. TIMEZONE]. All entries must be submitted by January 8 at 11:59 pm [U.S. TIMEZONE]. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Official Rules and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules. This is a skills-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.

Entry Procedure: 

The Contest contains four phases: 

Phase One: Entrants must submit a 500-word essay in response to the prompt (“Entry”). Entries may be submitted through [REVIEWR WEBSITE LINK] or by mailing a hard copy submission, post-marked by January 8 to 34 W Jackson Street, Suite 3A, Battle Creek, MI  49017. Hard copy submissions must include the student’s First Name, Last Name, School Name, ZIP Code, and Guardian Phone Number and Email Address. Entries received by any other means will not be considered.

Entrants must submit their Entry before January 8 at 11:59 pm [U.S. TIMEZONE]. (“Closing Date”). 

Phase Two: Twenty (20) local finalists will be selected based on the essay judging criteria listed below (See Judging Criteria for Selection of Local Finalists in Essay Competition). The local finalists will compete live in a National Civics Bee® Local Competition, which will determine the First, Second, and Third Place Winners of the local competition based on the highest cumulative scores of the local competition.

Phase Three: The top three winners from each local competition will advance to compete in their state’s National Civics Bee® State Finals. These state finalists will compete live. The state finalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the First Place Winner of the State Finals. There will also be a Second Place Winner and Third Place Winner.

Phase Four:

The First Place Winner of the State Finals will advance to compete in the national-level competition of the National Civics Bee® hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The national finalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the First Place Winner of the National Competition. There will also be a Second Place Winner and Third Place Winner. 

Contest Prizes:

Local Competition: 

Each local finalist that participates in the National Civics Bee® Local Competition will receive a certificate commemorating their participation.  

             There will be one (1) third place winner of each National Civics Bee® Local Competition (“Third Place Winner”). The Third Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of $125. 

             There will be one (1) second place winner of each National Civics Bee® Local Competition (“Second Place Winner”). The Second Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of $250. 

             There will be one (1) first place winner of each National Civics Bee® Local Competition (“First Place Winner”). The First Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of $500. 

The prize does not include any reimbursement of travel or any other expenses in conjunction with the National Civics Bee® Local Competition. The prize may not be transferred or assigned by the winner. No cash equivalent will be provided in lieu of the non-cash prize. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute the prize in the event of unavailability. 

To claim the cash prize, the Parent or Guardian of the winner must provide a valid taxpayer identification number to the Co-Sponsor. Payment of all federal, state, and local taxes are solely the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian of the winner(s). 

State Finals:

Each state finalist that participates in the National Civics Bee® State Finals will receive a certificate commemorating their participation.  

There will be one (1) third place winner of each National Civics Bee® State Final (“Third Place Winner”). The Third Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of $250. 

There will be one (1) second place winner of each National Civics Bee® State Final (“Second Place Winner”). The Second Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of $500. 

There will be one (1) first place winner of each National Civics Bee® State Final (“First Place Winner”). The First Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of $1,000. 

The prize does not include any reimbursement of travel or any other expenses in conjunction with the National Civics Bee® State Finals. The prize may not be transferred or assigned by the winner. No cash equivalent will be provided in lieu of the non-cash prize. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute the prize in the event of unavailability.

To claim the cash prize, the Parent or Guardian of the winner must provide a valid taxpayer identification number to the Co-Sponsor. Payment of all federal, state, and local taxes are solely the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian of the winner(s).

National Competition:

             Each finalist that participates in the 2024 National Civics Bee® National Competition will receive a certificate commemorating their participation.  

There will be one (1) third place winner of the National Civics Bee® National Competition (“Third Place Winner”). The Third Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of at least $5,000.

There will be one (1) second place winner of the National Civics Bee® National Competition (“Second Place Winner”). The Second Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of at least $7,500.

There will be one (1) first place winner of the National Civics Bee® National Competition (“First Place Winner”). The First Place Winner will receive a separate trophy and a cash prize of at least $10,000.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will also offer a travel and lodging stipend to national finalists to attend the National Civics Bee® National Competition. The prize may not be transferred or assigned by the winner. No cash equivalent will be provided in lieu of the non-cash prize. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute the prize in the event of unavailability. 

To claim the cash prize, the Parent or Guardian of the winner must provide a valid taxpayer identification number to the Sponsor. Payment of all federal, state, and local taxes are solely the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian of the winner(s).

Odds of Winning:

Odds of being named a local, state, or national finalist or being selected as one of the placed winners of the local, state, or national competitions depends on the number of eligible applicants received on or before the Closing Date and the skill of the entrants.

Judging Criteria for Selection of Finalists in Essay Competition:

Each Entry will be evaluated by a group of judges selected by the Sponsor or Co-Sponsors. Each judge will use the rubric provided on the submission page to evaluate each Entry. Criteria covered in the rubric include “Demonstrate an Understanding of Civic Principles,” “Acknowledge and Address Opposing Points of View,” “Acknowledge and Address at Least One Founding Principle and One Civic Virtue,” “Use Supporting Evidence and Primary Sources,” and “Clearly Describe an Idea that is Innovative or New to Them.” The twenty (20) highest scoring Entries will be selected as the local finalists, and notified via email and/or phone, to participate in the live National Civics Bee® Local Competition. 

The parent or legal guardian of a local or state finalist that is under the age of 18 must execute and return any required consent and publicity release within ten (10) days of notification attempt or the finalist will be disqualified, the prize will be forfeited, and an alternate finalist(s) will be chosen.

Process for National Civics Bee® Competition 

The National Civics Bee® Local Competition will be a live local event with the twenty (20) local finalists answering two rounds of civics-based quiz questions. Finalists will receive one point for each correct answer and zero points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions. The five students with the highest scores at the end of round 2 will advance to round 3. The third round will include questions from a panel of judges regarding the student’s essay submission. The student with the highest cumulative score at the end of the third round will be determined as the First Place Winner of the National Civics Bee® Local Competition. Second and third place winners will also be announced. The first, second, and third-place winners of the National Civics Bee® Local Competition will advance to the National Civics Bee® State Finals. 

The National Civics Bee® State Finals will be a live event with the top three finalists from each National Civics Bee® Local Competition in that state competing against each other. Participants will answer two rounds of civics-based quiz questions. Finalists will receive one point for each correct answer and zero points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions. The five students with the highest scores at the end of round 2 will advance to round 3. The third round will include a 3-minute pitch from each state finalist about the essay they submitted for the local competition. This will be followed by questions from a panel of judges regarding the pitch and essay submission. The student with the highest cumulative score at the end of the third round will be determined as the First Place Winner of the National Civics Bee® State Finals. Second and third place winners will also be announced. 

The National Civics Bee® National Competition will be a live event with the top finalist from each National Civics Bee® State Final competing against each other. Participants will answer rounds of civics-based quiz questions. Finalists will be eliminated based on the accuracy of their answers to the questions. Finalists will also deliver a pitch of the topic and solutions they wrote about in their essay and may be asked to participate in a group-solve challenge as part of the live event. The finalist with the highest cumulative score at the end of the competition will be determined as the First Place Winner of the 2024 National Civics Bee® Competition. Second and third place winners will also be announced. 

In the event of a tie at the end of the quiz rounds at the local, state, or national competitions, the students who are tied will participate in a tiebreaker round where they will answer additional civics-based quiz questions until the tie is broken.

Publicity Release: 

You agree to grant the Sponsor and Co-Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to edit, telecast, exhibit, rerun, reproduce, use, syndicate, license, print, distribute, and otherwise exploit any items (including any photos, videos, audio, or written material) submitted as part of your contest entry, or any portion thereof, in any manner, and in any and all formats and media now known or hereafter devised, without payment to you or any third party. You represent and warrant that you are the parent or legal guardian of the minor and provide your express consent for your child and information about your child to appear in any materials submitted in the Contest or related event or ceremony, and you have the full legal right, power, and authority to grant to the Sponsor and Co-Sponsor this license. Information about your child may include his/her name, address (city and state), likeness, photograph, voice, biographical information, and/or any statements made by him/her regarding the Contest or its sponsors.

Each Finalist (or if a minor, their parent or adult legal guardian) must complete, execute and return a declaration of eligibility and publicity release, except where prohibited.

General Rules:

No Entry can be withdrawn after the Closing Date. Neither the Sponsor, Co-Sponsor nor the Entrant’s parents, affiliated entities or agents, are responsible for any illegible, lost, stolen, late, damaged, incomplete, mutilated or misdirected applications or other documents. Entrants are responsible for ensuring proper contact information has been submitted and is maintained throughout the National Civics Bee® to allow communications about the National Civics Bee®. 

Erroneous or false information provided in the Entry will result in immediate disqualification of the applicants. Sponsor(s) and the Judges otherwise retain the right to disqualify any applicant in their sole discretion.

If, for any reason, the National Civics Bee® is not capable of running as planned, Sponsor, and Co-Sponsor reserve the right in their sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the National Civics Bee® at any time. Sponsor and Co-Sponsor reserve the right to amend the rules of the contest at any time.   

By creating an Entry, or by being an Entrant, you understand that there is no joint venture, partnership, employment, or agency relation between you and the Sponsor or Co-Sponsor arising from any Entry.

The decisions of the Judges are final, and Entrants specifically agree that the decision of the Judges and any decision of Sponsor or Co-Sponsor is not subject to review or appeal in any forum whatsoever, including courts of law.

Any information provided as part of this Contest is provided according to the website’s Privacy Policy, as they may be amended from time to time, and as otherwise provided for in these Rules. Entrants agree that personal data, especially name and address, may be processed, shared, and otherwise used for the purposes and within the context of the Contest and any other purposes outlined in these Official Rules and according to the website’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The data may also be used by the Sponsor in order to verify the participant’s First Name, Last Name, School Name, ZIP Code, Guardian’s Phone Number/Email, or to otherwise verify the participant’s eligibility to participate in the Contest. Participants have the right to access, review, rectify, or cancel any personal data held by the Sponsor by writing to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 1615 H Street NW, Washington D.C. 20062, civictrust@uschamber.com

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. By entering the Contest, entrant agrees that (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with the Contest, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually without resort to any form of class action; (2) any claims, judgment, and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Contest, but in no event attorney’s fees; and (3) under no circumstances, will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than damages for actual out-of-pocket expenses. But in no event shall the liability of the Sponsor or Co-Sponsor exceed $100.  

Winners List.  To request a list of the names of the top three winners, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 1615 H Street NW, Washington D.C. 20062. 

Sponsors