Senator Gebhard Essay Contest

9/11 Remembrance Essay Contest

September 11th, 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America. Each year, Americans commemorate the day by honoring the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives as well as the legacy of hope, resilience and unity that grew from the despair. It is an annual reminder that peace is not guaranteed, that things can change in an instant, and that there is no greater force on earth than a united American people.

I invite all 5th and 12th grade students in Pennsylvania for the 2021-22 school year to participate in an essay contest to commemorate the 20th anniversary by writing a 750-word essay about what September 11th means to our community. The winning essays will receive a monetary prize, as well as a tour with the senator at the Capitol.  


The contest is open to Pennsylvania students in both 5th grade and 12th grade.

Contest Rules:

The goal is to increase the awareness of the historic date of September 11th and bring attention to the significance of the event on its 20th anniversary. Therefore, your original essay must address why we must never forget. 

  • Students may submit one essay of no more than 750 words.
  • Students must be identified by first and last name on the official registration form. 
  • Content must be original and may only contain copyrighted content if appropriately cited. 
  • Entrants must credit all sources used on a bibliography/citation list. 
  • All students must be enrolled in either a public, private or home school program within Pennsylvania.  
  • All entries become the property of the Pennsylvania Senate. Entrants agree that submitting their essay permits the Pennsylvania Senate to use, without any compensation, their names, likenesses and entries for promotional purposes. By submitting an entry, entrants represent that their entries constitute original works of creativity that do not violate the property rights of any other person or organization, and grant the Pennsylvania Senate the right to exhibit, distribute, televise and otherwise use the entries in various media. 

Contest Awards:

$250 will be awarded to both the 5th grade winner and 12th grade winner.

Judging Criteria:

  • Creativity                                         
  • Content
  • Effectiveness of message delivery         
  • Did you follow directions?

Entries will be judged by an independent panel of judges and will not include any Pennsylvania senators. Immediate relatives of senators and their staff are ineligible to participate. Judges will be announced closer to the competition deadline. Deadline for entry is September 30.

Senator Gebhard September 11 Essay Contest

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