Contest Overview

The Knight Essay Contest is a youth program sponsored by the National Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution beginning in 1988. In 1995 the contest was named after
George Knight and his wife to honor a generous donation they made to support the contest.
He was a long-time SAR member and past VASSAR president. The contest encourages
high school students (no gender restrictions) to research a topic pertaining to the American
Revolutionary War time period and then write an essay on their topic. The contest promotes
historical accuracy, significance, and good writing skills. The ability to write clearly and
effectively while engaging the reader are important in many aspects of life, and the SAR
hopes to encourage students to develop and refine these skills.

VASSAR Essay Committee

The Virginia State Society Essay Contest Committee has several functions:

  • Provide a central point of contact for anyone in the state interested in
    participating in the essay contest

  • Provide resources and guidance to Virginia SAR chapters on recruiting
    contestants, running a local contest, and selecting the best candidate to enter
    in the state competition

  • Accept chapter submissions, review and judge them, and submit the State
    winner to the National contest

  • Coordinate travel for state winners that are chosen to participate in person at
    the SAR Annual Congress and support those participants as they represent

Entering the Contest

Participants will need to contact a local SAR chapter where they will potentially compete (if
there are multiple entries) to be selected as the Chapter winner. To find a local chapter,
contact the state chairman at the email address below.

Each chapter manages its own process, but most chapters will recruit participants through
the early school year (September to December), select a winner by the end of December,
and submit their winning essay to the state essay chairman by email no later than January
5th. Judging takes place soon thereafter and winners are announced at the VASSAR annual
meeting in February. Prizes at the state level are as follows:

  • First: $1,000
  • Second: $500
  • Third: $300

State entries are due to the National Chairman by February 15 and the first through fifth
place winners are announced at the SAR Annual Congress in July. National level prizes are:

First: $6,000 plus up to $1,500 for travel expenses

  • Second: $3,000
  • Third: $2,000
  • Fourth: $500
  • Fifth: $500

Additional Information

For more information about the contest, or for more details about contacting a local chapter,
please email the Chairman Richard Sherman at [email protected].

Further information about the Essay contest, including the Essay Rules and the Essay
Application form, can be found at the National SAR
George & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest webpage.