The Contest is open to middle school and high school students in the United States that are 13 years or older. Current high school seniors, accepted or planning to enroll in a college or university are eligible for the $2,500 scholarship prize. The scholarship will be awarded directly to the identified college or university. One student will be selected to receive the Harper Lee Memorial Award & $1,000 Scholarship. This award will recognize a student voice that demonstrates outstanding thematic relevance in her honor.
Students in grades 7-12 are eligible for one of five $500 awards. $250 classroom awards and free access for Facing History's Teaching Mockingbird online course will also be given to the teacher of all winners. The student will be asked to indicate their teacher as part of the contest submission form.
Employees of Facing History and Ourselves and the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible.
The Contest is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited. No purchase is necessary to enter or win.
How to enter
Essays must address the writing prompt found at contest.facinghistory.org/mockingbird.
This year’s contest prompt reflects themes identified in Facing History’s Teaching Mockingbird study guide: In Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch, a young white girl growing up in Alabama in the 1930s, is forced to question her community's spoken and unspoken rules when her father agrees to defend a black man falsely accused of a crime. She and her brother, Jem, struggle to define their identities in relationship to the values of their small, segregated Southern town.
Like other coming-of-age stories, To Kill a Mockingbird invites readers to reflect on our own experiences, examining the forces that have shaped our identities as well as those of the characters.
How has the community you've grown up in influenced the person you are today? Has there been a moment when your sense of self has come into conflict with the norms in your community?
Essays may be no longer than 500 words. Essays must be submitted through the submission page contest.facinghistory.org/mockingbird/submit. Please copy and paste your Essay into the designated field and completed all information indicated as required on the form.
Your Essay must not violate any third-party rights, including, but not limited to, copyrights, trademark rights, or rights of privacy and publicity. By submitting an Essay you represent that you are the author of the Essay and you own all rights to the Essay.
You agree to release, indemnify, and hold harmless the Sponsor from and against any claim or cause of action that arises from or relates to your Essay or your participation in any phase of this Contest.
Submissions cannot be revised or altered once submitted. Once submitted, all Essays become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned. Incomplete or inaccurate nominations are void.
Each submission must respond to the writing prompt and demonstrate thoughtful reflection on your own experience in your community. Judges will be looking for a strong personal voice in your essay, and a connection to themes found at the core of To Kill a Mockingbird, such as, but not limited to, justice, family, gender, race, and personal moral/ethical development.
All work must be original and unpublished. In addition, judges will consider grammar, organization, style, personal voice, originality, and clarity of content and ideas. We strongly encourage students to include personal examples and insights.
All Essays will be reviewed to ensure that they are in compliance with these Official Rules. The Sponsor shall have the right to disqualify any nominations that it determines, in its sole discretion, are not in compliance with these Official Rules. The Sponsor reserves the right, for any reason and in its sole discretion, not to accept or post any Essay or video online, or to remove Essays or videos after they have been posted online.
The Contest is sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves, Inc. located at 16 Hurd Rd., Brookline, MA 02445. http://www.facinghistory.org.
Agreement to Official Rules
By submitting an Essay, by voting, or by otherwise participating in the Contest you fully and unconditionally, to and accept these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Winning the Contest is contingent upon your compliance with these Official Rules and fulfilling all other requirements set forth in these Official Rules.
The Contest submission period begins on February 16, 2016 at 12:00PM EST and ends on March 16, 2016 at 5:00PM EST (the Submission Period).
At the end of the Submission Period, the Sponsor will review the Essay submissions and, using its judgment, select the top Essay submissions. The participants who submitted those top Essays will be Finalist, and will be notified by email on or about April 1, 2016. If a potential Finalists cannot be contacted within 48 hours after the first attempt to contact him/her or declines to participate, the Sponsor may select an alternate Finalist in his/her place.
The general public will then have the opportunity to vote on the Finalists beginning on April 6, 2016 at 12:00PM EST and ending on April 20, 2016 at 5:00PM EST (the Voting Period).
The Contest Period begins at the start of the Submission Period and ends at the end of the Voting Period. The Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Contest. Essays that are received by the Sponsor before or after the Submission Period, and votes that are received by the Sponsor before or after the Voting Period, may be disqualified.
During the Voting Period, on an ongoing basis, visitors to the Contest web page will have the opportunity to vote for the top Essays from the selected Finalists. Visitors must be 13 years of age or over to vote. The Contest winner in each Category will be decided by majority vote per the count tallied on the website used to run the Contest.
The use of robotic or automatic devices for voting is prohibited. The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to nullify any votes for any reason and to disqualify any individual from voting. The Sponsor’s tally of votes shall be final and binding. In the event of a tie, the winner will be selected by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion.
The Contest winner will receive the $2,500 Benjamin B. Ferencz Upstander Scholarship, made possible by the Planethood Foundation. One student will also be selected to receive the Harper Lee Memorial Award & $1,000 Scholarship. This award will recognize a student voice that demonstrates outstanding thematic relevance in her honor. An additional five $500 Upstander Awards will be given to students selected by Facing History and Ourselves.Identified teachers of the winning students will also each receive $250 classroom awards and free access to Facing History's Teaching Mockingbird online course.
The winners and their Essays will be promoted on the Sponsor’s web site, in email marketing and blog posts, and other social media channels [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn] and/or in other media. There may also be additional promotion. Non-winning Essays may also be selected for some level of promotion.
Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner.
On or about April 1, 2016, the Sponsor will attempt to notify the potential winners via telephone or email. If a potential winner cannot be contacted within 48 hours after the first attempt to contact him/her, or if a potential winner declines the Prize, the Sponsor may select an alternate potential winner in his/her place from the Semifinalist receiving the next highest vote tally.
Except where prohibited, each potential winner may be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within seven (7) days of being notified. If a potential winner fails to sign and return the Affidavit/Release within the required time period, or if the notification is returned as undeliverable, the Prize may be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate winner.
Right of Use
By submitting an Essay or participating as a Finalist, you: (a) irrevocably grant the Sponsor, its agents, licensees, and assigns a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully sublicensable right and license to copyright, reproduce, encode, store, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, publicly perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works of, exhibit, and otherwise use your Essay as-is or as-edited (with or without using your name) in any media (whether now known or hereafter developed) throughout the world for any purpose, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation, or approval from you or any other party; (b) waive any moral rights that may preclude the Sponsor's use of your Essay or require any further permission for the Sponsor to use the Essay; and (c) agree not to instigate, support, maintain, or authorize any action, claim, or lawsuit against the Sponsor on the grounds that any use of the Essay, or any derivative works, infringes any of your rights as creator of the Entry, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademark rights, and moral rights. In addition, you hereby grant an unlimited license to the Sponsor to copy, display, broadcast, distribute or otherwise use your Essay for any purpose, including, but not limited to, promotion of the Sponsor or Sponsor's activities. You also grant the Sponsor unlimited authority to sublicense such rights to any third party. You agree that the Sponsor shall also have the right to edit, adapt and publish your Essay and may use it in any media in association with the Contest without attribution or compensation to you, or your successors or assigns or any other entity. You agree that the Sponsor will not be liable to you or to any third party for any editing, adaptation, modification and/or publication of any Essay.
Except where prohibited, by participating in the Contest (by submitting an Essay) you irrevocably grant the Sponsor and its agents your consent to use, record, reproduce, publish, display, perform, translate, and distribute, your name, likeness, voice, quotation(s), opinion(s) and biographical information, including without limitation, any photograph or recording for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration; and the names, likenesses, voice and biographical information of any natural person appearing in your Essay, including without limitation any photograph or recording, for any promotional purpose in any media, worldwide, and/or for any other commercial or non-commercial corporate purpose, including without limitation use on merchandise or for marketing, without attribution or further payment or compensation to you or your successors or assigns or any other entity.
In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Contest is impaired in any way for any reason, including but not limited to fraud, virus, bug, worm, unauthorized human intervention or other technical problems, or in the event the Contest is unable to run as planned for any other reason, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either (a) suspend the Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Contest in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules, or (b) terminate the Contest and, in the event of termination, award or not award the prize in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. The Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to damage the website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages (including attorney fees) and any other remedies from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Failure by the Sponsor to enforce any provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.
Release and Limitations of Liability
BY PARTICIPATING IN THE CONTEST, WHETHER BY SUBMITTING AN ESSAY OR BY VOTING, YOU AGREE IRREVOCABLY TO RELEASE, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS THE SPONSOR AND ITS PARENTS, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION AGENCIES, OTHER COMPANIES ASSOCIATED WITH THE CONTEST, AND EACH OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, SHAREHOLDERS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND AGENTS (THE RELEASED PARTIES) FROM AND AGAINST ANY CLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION THAT ARISES FROM OR RELATES TO YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST OR RECEIPT OR USE OF THE PRIZE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO: (A) ANY TECHNICAL ERRORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CONTEST, INCLUDING LOST, INTERRUPTED OR UNAVAILABLE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP), NETWORK, SERVER, WIRELESS SERVICE PROVIDER, OR OTHER CONNECTIONS, AVAILABILITY OR ACCESSIBILITY OR MISCOMMUNICATIONS OR FAILED COMPUTER, SATELLITE, TELEPHONE, CELLULAR TOWER OR CABLE TRANSMISSIONS, LINES, OR TECHNICAL FAILURE OR JUMBLED, SCRAMBLED, DELAYED, OR MISDIRECTED TRANSMISSIONS OR COMPUTER HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE MALFUNCTIONS, FAILURES OR DIFFICULTIES; (B) UNAUTHORIZED HUMAN INTERVENTION IN THE CONTEST; (C) MECHANICAL, NETWORK, ELECTRIC, COMPUTER, HUMAN, PRINTING OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS; (D) APPLICATION DOWNLOADS, (E) ANY OTHER ERRORS OR PROBLEMS IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONTEST, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ERRORS THAT MAY OCCUR IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CONTEST, THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WINNER, THE CANCELLATION OR POSTPONEMENT OF THE CONTEST, THE PROCESSING OF ENTRIES; OR (F) INJURY, DEATH, LOSSES OR DAMAGES OF ANY KIND TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY THAT MAY BE CAUSED, DIRECTLY, OR INDIRECTLY, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FROM YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST, INCLUDING CLAIMS THAT YOUR ESSAY INFRINGES ANY PERSON’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS OR RIGHTS OF PUBLICITY OR PRIVACY, OR YOUR ACCEPTANCE, RECEIPT. OR MISUSE OF THE PRIZE. YOU FURTHER AGREE THAT IN ANY CAUSE OF ACTION, THE RELEASED PARTIES’ LIABILITY WILL BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF ENTERING AND PARTICIPATING IN THE CONTEST, AND IN NO EVENT SHALL YOU BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE ATTORNEYS’ FEES. RELEASED PARTIES ARE ALSO NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INCORRECT OR INACCURATE INFORMATION, WHETHER CAUSED BY SITE USERS, TAMPERING, HACKING, OR BY ANY EQUIPMENT OR PROGRAMMING ASSOCIATED WITH OR UTILIZED IN THE CONTEST. YOU WAIVE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL, DIRECT, OR INDIRECT DAMAGES.
Except where prohibited, you agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate state or federal court located in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, your rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of Massachusetts, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Massachusetts.
ANY CLAIM RELATING TO THE CONTEST MUST BE BROUGHT (IF AT ALL) WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE DATE ON WHICH THE CONTEST PERIOD ENDS.
The Contest is not intended for children younger than 13 years of age. The Sponsor does not knowingly collect or store any personal information about children under the age of 13. Parents should tell their children under 13 not to send any information about themselves to us – including their name, email address, or mailing address. If we learn that we have collected any personal information from a child under the age of 13 without verification of parental consent, we will delete that information from our database as quickly as possible.