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The 2011-2012 Teachers Against Prejudice Essay Contest

This year we are conducting our Twelfth Annual International Essay Contest to commence on October 25, 2011; the deadline is December 15, 2011. The winners will be notified in 2012, and winning entries will be posted on our website. This contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 5 through 12 in public and independent schools and to those who are homeschooled. We will have two separate categories, one for middle school students (grades 5-8) and one for high school students (grades 9-12). The essay questions, judging criteria, and prizes are listed below.

We hope teachers will work with their students on this important theme. We welcome and encourage their participation in this contest. We trust it will help to hone students' critical thinking skills as well as provide a forum for their creativity. In addition, if any teachers are interested in helping us judge the entries we receive, they should contact us.

 The Middle School Question:

Think about your favorite character from a TV show or film. Give examples of how their story would be different if their race, gender, religion, body shape, disability, or sexual orientation was changed. Explain what the audience would come to understand and respect about the character's background.

Entries must not exceed 750 words, must be typed or neatly written, must be clearly organized, and must answer all parts of the question.

The High School Question:

How are different groups (religious, ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and/or other groups) portrayed in the media? Choose one group that is particularly affected by bias in the way it is depicted and give specific examples. If you were the producer of a movie or television program or the editor of a newspaper or magazine, what would you do to ensure objective and balanced portrayals of this group?

Essays must not exceed 1000 words, must be typed or neatly written, must be clearly organized, and must answer all parts of the question.


Criteria: For contact purposes only, all students must include their name, home address, contact phone number, school name, school phone number and grade. Also include an e-mail address, if available.*

  • Entries will become the property of TAP.
  • Essays may be submitted in Word or text format or scanned in as JPEG or PDF files.
  • Entries should be emailed to contest(at) by December 15, 2011, and should be accompanied by this Contest Entry Form.
  • Please indicate in the subject line "Middle school essay contest" or "High school essay contest."
  • If Internet access is not available, entries must be postmarked by December 15 and mailed to:

Teachers Against Prejudice
116 New Norwalk Road
New Canaan, CT 06840

Prizes: First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded separately for middle school and high school students.

First place:$300
Second place:$200
Third place:$100

(Prizes of comparable value will be awarded for those who reside outside of the United States.)


Based on previous results, we anticipate a good response and want to make sure that your students are included in this timely, relevant discussion.

*PRIVACY POLICY: The personal information provided with contest entries is used only for communication regarding the contest. We will not add you to any mailing lists without your prior knowledge or express permission, and personal contact information is not shared with any organization outside TAP.