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  Ulster County CYO Essay Contest

The Contest is open to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students.


Essay must be 650 words or less. Essays will be judged on content as it pertains to the topic, spelling, and grammar.


A 3 x 5 inch index card with the author’s name, address, telephone number, grade, county and name of school or parish must be affixed to the essay.


1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be judged on the Archdiocesan level. Winners of the Archdiocesan Contest will be personally invited to attend the Archdiocesan Art & Essay Awards Ceremony that will be held on May 20, 2016 at 1011 First Avenue at 7pm.


Submission Deadline:                Friday May 6th, 2016                                         



TOPICS (Please pick one): 


  1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe will inspire and empower others. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a person you admire.
    Avoid the urge to pen an ode to a beloved figure like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln. The review committee doesn’t need to be convinced they are impressive people.  Focus on yourself: Choose someone who actually caused you to change your behavior your worldview, and write about how this person influenced you.
  5. What is a book you love? Your answer should not be a book report.
    Don’t just summarize the plot: detail why you enjoyed this particular text and what it meant to you. What does your favorite book reveal about you? How do you identify with it, and how has it become personal to you. Again, be honest in answering this question.
  6. What is an extracurricular activity that has been meaningful to you?
    Take this opportunity to really examine an experience that taught you something you didn’t previously know about yourself, got you out of your comfort zone, or forced you to grow. Sometimes it’s better to write about something that was hard for you because you learned something than it is to write about something that was easy for you because you think it sounds impressive. As with all essay questions, the most important thing is to tell a great story: how you discovered this activity, what drew you to it, and what it’s shown you about yourself.