2023 Middle School Creative Expressions Civics Contest

Contest Rules Set Forth Below

The United States Constitution has three main functions. It creates a national government consisting of three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial. It divides governmental powers between the federal government and the states. It also protects individual liberties from the government.

Since the Constitution was ratified in 1789, more than 12,000 amendments have been proposed and many remain pending as partially approved. Only 27 amendments have been successfully ratified and incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. For example: The First Amendment (1791) protects the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment also prevents the government from favoring one religion over another. The 13th Amendment (1865) abolished slavery. The 19th Amendment (1920) guaranteed women the right to vote. Other amendments were proposed but have not been ratified, including banning flag burning, guaranteeing equal rights regardless of sex, electing the president by popular vote, curbing climate change, and guaranteeing the right to privacy.

The theme of the 2023 middle school civics contest is “The 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: What Should Our Next Amendment Be?”

Students are asked: “What amendment would you propose for our Constitution? Why? How would you get your amendment ratified?” Students should express their thoughts and ideas addressing the theme in creative ways. They can submit photography, artwork, poetry, or even a video of a dance, short play, or an interview. If students choose to make a video, it should be limited to a maximum of three minutes. Regardless of what creative form students choose, students should submit a written explanation of the creation and why it relates to the contest theme. The written explanation should be no longer than 200 words. Individuals or teams of up to three students can produce one submission. If a single submission by a team is selected as one of the winning submissions, the team members must share the prize money for whatever place the submission wins (e.g. first, second, or third place). Students can only be involved in the production of one creation. Students are encouraged to reference historical and/or legal examples and current events in their submissions and/or the written explanation of their submissions.

The contest is open to middle school students in Nevada. Students from public, private, parochial or charter schools, and home-schooled students of equivalent grade status may enter. Children of federal judges, chambers staff, and employees of the federal court are not eligible to participate. Please include in your submission your full name, grade level, and the name of your school.

The winning pieces will be distributed, and videos shown, to several judges and lawyers working in Nevada. The first place winner will receive $300.00, the second place winner will receive $250.00, and the third place winner will receive $200.00.

The contest is sponsored by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. All entries must be submitted electronically by 5:00pm PST on April 28, 2023. If a student chooses to enter a contest by creating artwork, a photograph or video of the art must be submitted. Please note that all contest rules are set forth in this document. Link to the entry form is located below.

Questions about the contest and submissions can be sent to the Clerk’s Office at AAFandCivics@nvd.uscourts.gov. Alternatively, participants may call Sharon Hardin with questions at (702)-464-5563.

Judging will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Understanding of the theme set forth in written explanation of submission: 50%
    • Clarity and effectiveness in explaining how the submission meets the theme of the contest: 30%
    • Grammar, spelling, and composition: 10%
    • Use of references historical and/or legal examples or current events to explain your piece: 10%
  2. Originality, quality, and creativity of the submission as it relates to the theme: 50%

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