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FAQs

When is the next Ethics Essay Contest?

What is the TWI Ethics Essay Contest?

What is the purpose of the contest?

How are winning essays selected?

Who has participated in past years?

How are students encouraged to participate in the contest?

What is the most effective use of the ethics essay contest?

What is the process for high schools to participate?

How can my school participate this year?

What have participating teachers said about the contest?

E-mail us for more information about the Ethics Essay Contest.


When is the next ethics essay contest?

The 2016 TWI Ethics Essay Contest is being held in Nov.- Dec., 2016. The essay prompt is on the Annoucement and Rules page on this website. The essays will be vetted and winners announced in April 2017.

What is the TWI Ethics Essay Contest?

In 1995, TWI sponsored its first ethics essay contest for high school students at one Phoenix area high school. The contest has continued to build annually since then. Over the past 22 years, over 30,000 essays have been submitted by students. Last academic year, TWI received more than 1,600 essays from high school junior and seniors in Arizona schools. Beginning with one school the first year, the contest has expanded to multiple schools with separate competitions conducted in each school.

Students respond to 4-5 questions related to a broader topic, which is different each year. Their essays are judged on the basis of their ability to thoughtfully take a position and defend it. Judging is not based on grammar and spelling.

TWI has awarded more than $140,000 in scholarships as of Spring 2016. 

The winning senior essay at each participating school competes for the winning statewide scholarship. There will be a Senior state winner and a Junior state winner. The state winners receive an additional cash scholarship. The 2016 state winners will be announced in April, 2017.

What is the purpose of the contest?

The purpose of the Ethics Essay Contest is to promote ethics in community by encouraging ethical awareness among high school students and ethical discourse in the classroom. The topics of the essay contest are written to provoke ethical thought and encourage critical thinking. The writing process leads the student from making a choice to stating a responsibility. The contest is also a way to provide scholarships to students.

How are winning essays selected?

The winner selection process is serious and rigorous. The essays are collected from the participating schools. Staff readers vet all the essays from each school, making sure each meets the word limit requirement and has answered all of the topic questions. Those not meeting both these minimum criteria are eliminated. Ten top essays are then selected for the two grade levels at each eligible school and the at-large groups for both juniors and seniors. These essays are evaluated by teams of five community leaders for each grade level at each school and at large groups, resulting in the participation of more than 75 volunteers. These panels of volunteer readers rank the essays based on a criteria sheet. The rankings are tabulated and three finalists determined for each grade level at each school. Contest finalists are interviewed by members of their individual teams, and scholarships are presented at the individual schools' end-of-year awards ceremonies.

State winners will be selected from the winning senior and junior essays from each eligible school and the at-large groups by a panel of readers based on rankings determined from a set of criteria.

Who has participated in past years?

High schools that have participated in the TWI Ethics Essay Contest:

Bagdad High School (Bagdad, AZ)
Basha High School
Buckeye Union High School
Centennial High School
Chandler High School
Desert Ridge High School
Desert Vista High School
Dobson High School
Florence High School (Florence, AZ)
Foothills College Preparatory Academy
Hamilton High School
Marcos de Niza High School
Maryvale High School
McClintock High School
Mountain Pointe High School
Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy (Prescott, AZ)
Paradise Valley High School
Patagonia High School (Patagonia, AZ)
Perry High School
Seton Catholic High School
Skyline High School
Tempe High School
Williams Field High School
Douglas MacArthur High School (Levittown, NY)

How are students encouraged to participate in the contest?

Each participating school decides how to involve its students. Schools are encouraged to require all junior and seniors to participate through writing in a selected class; some schools select specific classes that will be involved. As an assignment, teachers take different approaches: graded as part of the course work; a required assignment as part of a participation grade, which is either graded or ungraded; or as extra credit on a volunteer basis.

Since this contest is an opportunity for students to receive a scholarship, TWI encourages schools to make that opportunity available for all juniors and seniors, but that is not required of the school.

What is the most effective use of the ethics essay contest?

Through the twenty-plus years of the contest, we have found that the most thoughtful and insightful essays--and the most effective learning--come from integrating the essay writing into the classroom experience by both encouraging classroom discussion of the topic and making the assignment required.

What is the process for high schools to participate?

Schools that want to encourage ethical awareness in their students have only a few steps to follow:

  • Provide a written statement from school’s administration committing to participation. For form, click here.

  • Designate a school contact/champion who will work with TWI in the contest process. For responsibilities, click here.

  • State how the school will involve teachers and students

How can my school participate this year?

Contact TWI’s ethics essay coordinator, Bonnie McCalley at b.mccalley@ethics-twi.org.

What have participating teachers and administrators said about the contest?

To read what school leaders who have participated in the TWI Ethics Essay Contest have said about their students’ involvement, click here.

 

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