by Joe Ashley
“The Measure of a Life” essay contest has officially opened for the Spring 2023 semester.
The contest is hosted by the Academic Success Center to showcase students’ commitment to civic engagement and the betterment of their communities, giving students a chance to win a scholarship in the meantime. The contest is sponsored by The Center for Community Engagement and The Office of the Provost. It was originally created in 2005.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact that we started this so many years ago and it keeps going,” Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement Joyce McCauley said. “It’s a good thing for Sam because it’s outward facing to the public.”
Contestants are tasked with writing a personal narrative that reflects the SHSU school motto, “The Measure of a Life is its Service.”
“The reason why we started the essay contest was to raise awareness of our motto,” McCauley said. “And to get kids to reflect on what they’re doing to make life better and to be a contributing member of our society. What are you doing? What’s your story.”
“What are you doing? What’s your story?”– Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Joyce McCauley
The main rules for the essay is that it must be a true story, and can be no longer than 500 words. Each contestant is limited to one submission. The stories can be personal, or showcase experiences in other’s lives.
Three winners will be selected for the contest and each will be awarded a scholarship. The first place winner will receive $1,000, second place $750 and third place $250. Winners will be announced April 10.
“Anytime you can give scholarships to students, I mean- that’s the best thing ever right?” McCauley said. “I mean, (we) wouldn’t exist as a university without our students, and so how can we support that in ways that’s helpful to them? If you just look at our demographics we have a lot of kids that need a lot of help financially so what better way to award a student.”
1st Place: $1,000
2nd Place: $750
3rd Place: $250
Each essay will be blindly reviewed to ensure it meets the theme of the contest. After this review, a small selection of stories will be recognized and recommended for publication. The winners of the contest will be picked from this group.
When writing the essay, students are asked to refrain from self-references to allow for the blind reviewing. Students should also not put their name in the heading of the essay.
The essays of each of the 2022 winners, and a rubric for the contest is available online for students to get an idea of how the essays will be evaluated.
Submissions for the contest are due by the end of the day on March 27. Submissions are required to be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email must include the students full name, Sam ID, email address, phone number and a statement of authenticity found on the contest’s website.
“It’s not a beauty contest. It’s not an athletic contest. It’s a ‘What have you done to make life better?’ contest”– Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Joyce McCauley
“I think it’s a wonderful contest,” McCauley said. “It’s not a beauty contest. It’s not an athletic contest. It’s a ‘What have you done to make life better?’ contest and I just think we ought to try to recognize students who are great contributors to our society in as many ways as we can, especially when they do it without seeking a reward.”