Senator Brooks Hosts an Essay Contest

What does ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ mean to me, our community, and our nation?”

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is an inspirational ballad that has united a nation in patriotism for more than two centuries, since the turbulent time it was composed on an American truce ship by Francis Scott Key in 1814, to its adoption as the official National Anthem in 1931, to today.

Through the decades, the National Anthem has remained an integral part of the rich culture and heritage that makes this great nation what it is today. In honor of that history, I invite all 5th and 6th graders who attend a public or private school or homeschool program within the 50th Senatorial District for the 2021-22 school year to participate in an essay contest in which they are asked to write a 400-word essay answering the question, “What does ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ mean to me, our community, and our nation?”

Our objective is for students to craft a creative writing paper and not a research paper.


  • Entrants must be enrolled in 5th or 6th grade, attending a school in the 50th District of Pennsylvania, or receiving education in a homeschool program.
  • Each student may submit only one essay, of no more than 400 words.
  • Essays must be sent online no later than Monday, March 21, 2022, to
  • Students must be identified by first and last name on the official registration form. 
  • Content must be original and may only contain copyrighted content if appropriately cited.
  •  Entrants must credit all sources used on a bibliography/citation list. 
  • All entries become the property of the Pennsylvania Senate.  Entrants agree that submitting their essay permits the Pennsylvania Senate to use, without any compensation, their names, likenesses and entries for promotional purposes.  By submitting an entry, entrants represent that their entries constitute original works of creativity that do not violate the property rights of any other person or organization, and grant the Pennsylvania Senate the right to exhibit, distribute, televise and otherwise use the entries in various media. 
  • Awards will be given to three students in each award category, for a total of 12 awards.
  • In addition to the cash prizes from our wonderful sponsors, through the generosity of Anderson Coach and Travel, our first place winners will each receive three free seats, and our other winners will receive two free seats, on a bus trip to the Duquesne Incline, Carnegie Science Center, and Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
  • The winning students and school districts will be announced on Friday, April 1, 2022.

Our judges from the community look forward to reading these essays and announcing the winners!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mindy Gosser of my Greenville staff at 724-588-8911 or  I thank you in advance!  

Contest Awards:

Together with Northwest Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Channellock, Anderson Coach & Travel, Mercer County State Bank, Acutec Precision Aerospace, Inc., and Joy Baking Group, Senator Brooks is providing awards to three students for first, second, and third place, for a total of 12 awards.    

  • 1st Place $200 & Three tickets from Anderson Coach and Travel to their Spring Pittsburgh Museum Extravaganza
  • 2nd Place $175
  • 3rd Place $150
  • 4th Place $125

 Judging Criteria:                           

  • Content
  • Effectiveness of message delivery         
  • Ability to follow directions

Entries will be judged by an independent panel of judges and will not include any Pennsylvania senators. Immediate relatives of senators and their staff are ineligible to participate.



The essay contest is now closed.

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