High School students have a chance at a payday based on their patriotism.
It's the first time ever high schoolers nationwide can participate in the "Being An American" essay contest.
The contest offers cash prizes totaling more than $189,000 dollars to both students and their teachers. Top prize winners, their teachers and a guardian will also get an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. in March.
To participate, students are asked to share their thoughts on American citizenship by answering this question: "What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American?"
It should be no longer than 750 words and is judged on organization, writing style, and originality.
The top students and teachers from each of the 10 regions participating will be awarded first, second and third prizes, as well as honorable mentions. The cash prizes range from $250 dollars to $5,000 dollars. Students must have the essays submitted by December 1, 2008 and winners will be announced in the spring.
A list of complete rules and how to submit the essay can be found by navigating back to the wilx.com homepage and clicking on the "Hot Button."
Teachers can also help give their students a better chance to win by incorporating this contest into the classroom. They can access the "Being An American" web site for lesson plans and extra materials that meet state and national academic standards-- for free.
The contest began in 2006 in just three states and expanded last year to 19 states and the District of Columbia.
More than 17,000 students have participated in the contest to date.