The 2016 U.S. presidential election is upon us, and it is already characterized by plenty of debate and discussion. But amid candidate statements, the media, and conversations between voting adults, sometimes the voices of students—America’s future voters and leaders—are not heard.
Here at StudySync, we want young people to have a voice during this campaign season. We are thrilled to announce a brand new way for their thoughts to be heard. September 7th, we are launching On the Campaign Trail: A StudySync Blasts Series, and as part of the series, we will also be hosting an election-themed Student Writing Contest—Blast Out Your Vote!
To participate in the On the Campaign Trail StudySync Blasts Series teachers can simply assign the two new Blasts to their students, as they become live each week. Alternatively, teachers can sign up their classes or groups for the Election Blasts Communities to have the series directly delivered to their students.
For our new Blast Out Your Vote! Student Writing Contest, StudySync wants to hear what students think about the ballot, so we are asking them to respond to the most important question of this year’s election:
If you could vote in the 2016 election, which presidential candidate would you vote for and why?
Students should think about which national issues matter the most to them, while considering the qualities they would want in a President of the United States. They should learn about the candidates’ platforms, values, and goals. Then, based on their research, students will write an essay stating and supporting their opinions. Top submissions will be featured in a live Blast before the election, shared with StudySync users all over the country.
Here’s how it works:
- Students write a 200-500 word argumentative essay citing evidence to answer the question: “If you could vote in the 2016 election, which presidential candidate would you vote for and why?” (Essay should be limited to 500 words maximum)
- Teachers confirm parent/guardian permissions to participate and email all essay submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 25th, 2016 (see Contest Rules, below).
- StudySync’s curriculum team reviews all submissions.
- Prizes are awarded for the top Entries, plus the winning Entries will be featured in a Blast shared with schools nationwide and on the StudySync blog.
How to get started:
- Have students read and respond to several On the Campaign Trail Blasts to learn more about how elections work and which issues are central to the campaign this year. Two new election Blasts will be released each week starting September 7th.
- Review StudySync’s new Blast Out Your Vote! Composition Unit in their teacher account for ideas and tips. This new Unit will be released September 7th, simultaneously with the launch of On the Campaign Trail: A StudySync Blasts Series, supporting the goal of students writing an argumentative essay. The Unit closely follows the 2016 presidential election and students will use what they are learning to help them practice a new set of skills in argumentative writing.
- Collect parent/guardian permissions for students to participate. All Contest submissions must be received on or before October 25th, 2016 to be considered for the Contest. Early submissions encouraged.
Note: completion of the On the Campaign Trail Blast assignments or the Blast Out Your Vote! Unit are NOT required to participate in the Contest.
- Think about which campaign issues matter most to them and what they want to see from America’s next president.
- Read about the candidates’ platforms and views.
- Write a 200-500 word argumentative essay explaining which candidate they would pick and why.
- Share their final essay with the teacher who, in turn, will submit the essay to email@example.com.
The top essay submissions will be awarded two exciting prizes:
- Winning student essays will be featured in fully-functional Blasts in StudySync’s curriculum, available for StudySync users across the country, to read and respond to!
- StudySync will also send teachers with winning Entries a $100 Amazon gift card for classroom supplies in recognition of their students’ work.
Students are already responding to daily Blasts about contemporary issues– why not encourage them to write their own Blasts for a change? We hope this Contest empowers students to think critically about how they would come to a decision, vote in a presidential election, and support their decision with thoughtful reasoning.
For Contest Eligibility and Entry Guidelines, read below. Good luck to all participants!
Contest Eligibility and Entry Guidelines (“Contest Rules”)
The StudySync Blast Out Your Vote! Student Writing Contest (the "Contest") begins on September 7, 2016 and ends on October 25, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. PST. A “Contestant” must be a teacher over the age of 19 years old and a submission ("Entry") must be an original work by students in grades 5 – 12.
To participate, all StudySync sample users, pilot users, and subscribers over the age of 19 are welcome to submit Entries on behalf of their students. Teachers may submit multiple Entries created by individual students or any size group of collaborating students. Entries should clearly state which candidate the student(s) would choose to vote for and offer reasons why they made that decision. Entries should not exceed 500 words in length.
A written Entry must follow these Contest Rules. Entry should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF attached to the email.
You, the Contestant, by entering the Contest, represent and warrant that: (1) your Entry is an original work and you have not included third party content (like copyrighted material) in your Entry without obtaining the written permission of the author; (2) the use of your Entry by StudySync does not and will not infringe or violate any rights of any third party or entity, including without limitation, patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, defamation, privacy, publicity, misappropriation, confidentiality, or any contractual or other rights; (3) you have all the rights, licenses, permissions and consents necessary to submit the Entry, and to grant all of the rights that you have granted to StudySync under these Contest Rules; (4) you have obtained written consent from each person that participated in the creation of the Entry ("Participant") to include his or her name, likeness, image and/or picture in your Entry (or if the Participant is a minor who is not your child, consent from his or her parent or legal guardian), and written consent from each Participant or legal guardian to submit the Entry without claims for payment. You will be asked to verify that such permission has been obtained in writing. By submitting an Entry, each teacher, student (and the student’s parent/guardian) assigns all right, title, and interest in and to the Entry to StudySync and warrants that the teacher, student and parent/guardian have the authority to assign such right, title, and interest. Failure to comply with all of the Contest Rules could result in disqualification. No purchase is required to enter the Contest. Shareholders, directors, officers, employees, consultants or representatives of StudySync, and their families, are ineligible to participate.
Judging, Awards, & Notification
Entries will be judged by StudySync’s curriculum team. The winning entries will be included in Blasts on StudySync’s website and featured on our blog, if the required written consents are obtained by StudySync. The winning submitting teacher(s) will receive a $100 Amazon gift card to purchase items for the classroom.
Rights Associated with Contest Submission of an Entry constitutes permission for StudySync to use the participants’ names, images, likeness, school name, writing sample and any statements or remarks made about the Contest in advertising and promotion without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law. All entries, and any copyrights therein, become the sole property of StudySync upon submission and acceptance by StudySync. By entering the Contest, Contestants agree to abide by the stated Contest Rules, and warrant that their Entry is their students’ original work and does not infringe upon or violate rights of any third party, and grant to StudySync the right to edit, publish, promote, and otherwise use the Entry materials without permission, notice or compensation. No royalties will be paid at this or any time. StudySync also reserves the right to remove any Entry at their discretion.
By submitting an Entry, each Contestant (and the student and student’s parent and/or guardian) agree to be bound by these Contest Rules. Each Contestant (and the student and student’s parent and/or guardian) agrees to release and hold StudySync, and its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, agents, representatives, subsidiaries, parent companies, or other affiliated companies harmless from any and all damages, losses, claims and liabilities arising out of participation in the Contest or resulting from acceptance or claiming of any prize hereunder. These Contest Rules are subject to modification by StudySync. StudySync reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate, suspend or otherwise cancel the Contest at any time.
This Contest is void where prohibited by applicable law. The views expressed by participants do not reflect the views of StudySync, its shareholders, members, directors, officers, employees or agents. StudySync is not responsible for late or incomplete Entries.
Each Contestant irrevocably grants StudySync and its affiliates, legal representatives, assigns, agents and licensees, the unconditional and perpetual right and permission to reproduce, encode, store, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, publicly perform, adapt, exhibit and/or otherwise use or reuse (without limitation as to when or to the number of times used), on an exclusive basis, each element of the Contestant's Entry, and use of the Contestant's name, likeness, photograph (collectively, "Likeness"), and/or statements regarding his/her participation in this Contest (with or without using the Contestant's name) in any and all media without limitation as to time or territory, and without additional compensation or approval from the Contestant or any other party. Contestant waives intellectual property rights, privacy/publicity rights or other legal or moral rights that might preclude StudySync’s use of any element of the Entry, and agrees not to sue or assert any claim against StudySync for the use of any element of the Entry or Contestant's Likeness or statements. Contestant further grants all end users of StudySync’s Web Site (a) the ability to review, comment on and tag the Entry; (b) the ability to send and distribute the Entry via e-mail, instant messenger, and via social media or other electronic means.
Contestant agrees to indemnify and hold StudySync, its owners, directors, officers, managers, employees, agents or other partners, and any of their employees (collectively, the "Indemnitees"), harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys' fees) and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Indemnitees due to or arising out of the use of any element of Contestant's Entry, or the Contestant's conduct in submitting an Entry or otherwise in connection with this Contest, including but not limited to claims for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, violation of an individual's right of publicity or right of privacy, or defamation. Contestant further agrees to release StudySync from any and all claims that any advertising subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of StudySync infringes Contestant's rights with regard to any elements or ideas contained in any element of the Entry.