Announcement of 2016 High School Scholarship Essay Contest
Open to High School Seniors in Sacramento and Surrounding Counties
Total Scholarship Awards in the Amount of $15,000
Sponsored by the Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility
Note: The deadlines to enter the 2016 essay contest and to make reservations for the May 1 essay contest finals dinner have now passed. Check back on this page after May 1 for the names of this year's winners and to read their essays.
Students may enter the 2016 PSR/Sacramento Scholarship Essay Contest by submitting an original essay of 500 words or fewer describing their thoughts about the quotation, “Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free,” from the Nobel Lecture presented by The 14th Dalai Lama after he was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.
Contest Eligibility and Rules
Contestants must be high school seniors (or students who entered high school on track to graduate in 2016 but who graduated early) attending school in Sacramento County or in one of the following surrounding counties: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, or Yuba.
Contestants must be in good academic standing.
Contestants are encouraged to discuss the essay topic with teachers, parents, friends, and other mentors, but each contestant must write the essay himself or herself, in his or her own words.
Contestants who are under the age of 18 must have the consent of a parent or guardian to enter the contest.
Essays may include a title and footnotes, but these elements are not required. Titles and footnotes do not count toward the 500 word limit.
Students who are chosen as finalists or alternate finalists must also submit an essay contest signature form which includes a statement signed by the contestant documenting that the essay being submitted is his or her original work; a statement signed by a parent or guardian confirming that the parent or guardian approves of the student's participation in the scholarship essay contest; and a statement by a school official confirming that the contestant is a student in good standing, on track to graduate from the 12th grade in 2016, or that the student entered high school on track to graduate in 2016 but graduated early. A blank essay contest signature form will be sent to students chosen as finalists or alternate finalists along with the notification of their being chosen.
The deadline for online essay and demographic information submission is 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 13, 2016.
Late entries will not be accepted unless the delay was caused by a malfunction of the PSR/Sacramento server.
Selection of Scholarship Winners
The PSR/Sacramento Steering Committee will establish a panel of PSR members and other qualified individuals in the community to judge essays based on accuracy, originality, clarity, cohesiveness, and overall impact. Essay readers will be blinded to student demographic information. The panel will select 10 finalists and two alternates by Monday, April 11, 2016. The 10 finalists and two alternates will be contacted by email and/or telephone at the email address and/or telephone number provided with their online contest entry forms.
The top 10 finalists will be invited to present their essays orally at a dinner open to the public on the evening of Sunday, May 1, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 2001 Point West Way, in Sacramento.
Finalists must participate in the May 1 finals dinner presentation to be eligible for scholarship awards. Finalists must return completed signature forms and confirm by Sunday, April 24 that they will be participating in the May 1 finals event, or an alternate finalist may be invited to participate in their place.
A panel of judges selected from the community will listen to the essay presentations at the finals dinner and will ask one question of each finalist concerning his or her presentation. Finalists will be given up to two and a half minutes to respond to the judges’ questions. Following all presentations and questions, judges will choose the first, second, and third place winners, based on the combined quality of the essay presentations and the responses to the judges' questions.
Contest Prizes (Total $15,000)
First place winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship; second place a $2,500 scholarship; and third place a $2,000 scholarship
The other seven contestants participating in the May 1, 2016 finals event will each receive $1,000 scholarships.
If all 10 finalists participate in the finals dinner presentation, the two alternate finalists will both receive $250 scholarships. If one or more of the 10 finalists cannot be present at the finals dinner and an alternate finalists takes his or her place, the alternate finalist will instead receive a minimum of a $1,000 scholarship and will be eligible for the first, second, or third place awards.
Scholarship money may be applied toward any education-related expenses upon matriculation at an accredited college or university. Essay contest winners may also apply awards toward tuition for certain other post-high school educational programs, including trade schools, following review and approval of the proposed curriculum by the PSR/Sacramento Steering Committee.
Summary of Essay Contest Timeline
Deadline for entering the contest is 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 13, 2016.
The 10 finalists and two alternate finalists will be contacted by email and/or telephone by Monday, April 11, 2016.
The deadline for finalists to return completed signature forms and confirm that they will be able to participate in the May 1 essay contest finals dinner is Sunday, April 24, 2016.
The essay contest finals dinner will be on the evening of Sunday, May 1, 2016.
1 An exception to this rule will be considered for students who do not have access to a computer and/or access to the internet. If students are not able to submit their essays online, they must contact PSR/Sacramento by telephone at 916-955-6333 or by U.S. mail at 10 Dumfries Court, Sacramento, CA, 95831 at least two weeks prior to the contest entry deadline to arrange an alternate method of submitting their essays and demographic information.
Click on the following links to read the essays of winners of past contests