What Does America Mean To You? America250 Contest For Students

America250 is having an essay contest for third through twelfth graders on “What does America mean to you?” The essay contest entry deadline is May 17, 2024.


America250’s mission and vision is to commemorate and celebrate our 250th anniversary with programs that inspire Americans to renew and strengthen our daring experiment in democracy. The United State’s 250th anniversary of signing the Declaration of Independence is July 4, 2026.

The Essay

Students from third through twelfth grade are encouraged to write an essay, film a video, or make a piece of artwork that answers the question, “What does America mean to you?” For the artwork, the file size should not be more than 30MB and for the video, it should not be longer than two minutes. Students in grades third through fifth can submit a piece of artwork or an essay up to 100 words. Students in sixth through eight grade can submit artwork or a video; and high school students can submit a video or an essay up to 1000 words.

Categories and Judging

There will be three grade categories: third through fifth, sixth through eighth, and ninth through twelfth. The judges will be judging based on three things: clarity of idea, student voice, and presentation.


Twenty-five winners of each grade category will receive free travel and lodging for a three-day, two-night trip to a select historical or cultural site, including but not limited to the Statue of Liberty, Rocky Mountain National Park, and select Smithsonian museums. Second-place winners will get $500.

Submit An Entry

All entries must be received by America250 by May 17, 2024. To submit a piece of artwork, an essay, or a video, you can go here.