We are pleased to announce this year's winner, Jason Byer of Jacksonville. Read below for a listing of the other students who placed in the contest and a chance to read Jason's essay.

Thanks to all who participated in the contest this year. Information for the 2007-2008 contest is below.

The Sons of the American Revolution is pleased to sponsor this essay contest for high school students. Here's a brief summary. Use the links at the left to learn more.

Topic: Write about an event, person, philosophy, or ideal associated with the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution.

Deadline: Postal entries must be postmarked on or prior to Wednesday,January 31, 2008.

Prizes: First Place - $1,000.00, Second Place - $500.00, Third Place - $250.00

Be Published: All entries will be published on this website and will remain posted from the time of their receipt until the winners are announced.

Help: If you send your email address to us ( we'll send regular emails giving reminders, encouragement, suggestions and hints for writing a great essay.

The winner may enter the National Contest and compete for additional prizes.
Contact the State Chairman, Mr. Yarnell, at for additional information not found in these pages.

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2006-2007 Contest

Results of the 2006-2007 Knight Essay Contest
Sponsored by the Florida Society Sons of the American Revolution

1st Place: Jason Byer, Jacksonville

“An imaginary letter of historical facts from the Marquis de Lafayette to his wife, Adreinne” Read the essay

2nd Place: Jonathan Samuelson, Tarpon Springs

“The American Revolution: A Testament to Defiance”

3rd Place: Jennifer Barrows, Coral Springs

“Were the American colonists justified in declaring war with Britain“

2007-2008 Contest

Who can enter?

This contest is open to all students residing in Florida who are United States citizens or legal aliens and who:

How to enter the contest:

Follow these 3 steps to enter:
  1. Read the rules for the contest. Make sure you are eligible to enter and understand the requirements.
  2. Write your essay
  3. Send your essay by January 31, 2008 to:
    Sons of the American Revolution
    Knight Essay Contest
    7507 Summerbridge Dr.
    Tampa, Florida 33634-2260
    Or email the essay to:
Note: In some areas chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution will be conducting local contests. If you receive information indicating you should enter the local contest, please follow those directions. Otherwise, submit your essay as indicated here.

Additional Information:

Rules:   —  Florida Society Rules


National Society:

(Please note: The National prize amounts are subject to change.)

Florida State Society:

First Place: $2,000; a winning recognition certificate; airfare and one night hotel for two at the SAR 118th Annual Congress to be held in Sacramento, California, July 2008 First Place: $1,000.00 and award
Second Place: $500.00 Second Place: $500.00
Third Place: $1,000.00 Third Place: $250.00

Our Past

The Contest History

The Knight Essay Contest was originally named in honor of SAR Compatriot President Calvin Coolidge who won an SAR essay contest while a student at Amherst College. The contest was reestablished in 1988 by Compatriot McCarthy DeMere. In 1995, the contest was renamed the "George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest" in honor of their generous gift to the National Society to support this contest. The contest is designed to give High School students an opportunity to explore the early events that shaped American Revolutionary History.

The Florida Society has conducted a contest nearly every year since the National program was established. In recent years, the state committee has taken steps to improve the contest, concentrating on making it easier for students to enter. The committee is open to suggestions for improving the contest. Use the "Contact Us" link at the left for this purpose.

Previous Winners

We congratulate these individuals for their excellent essays.

  • 2006-2007: Jason Byer
  • 2005-2006: Erik King
  • 2004-2005: Kathlen O'Neal
  • 2003-2004: Ian Malinowski
  • 2002-2003: Claire Horan
  • 2001-2002: Shannon Rose Enterline
  • 2000-2001: Mamie Wise
  • 1999-2000: J. Matthew Lowe
  • 1998-1999: Anastasia Boutsis
  • 1997-1998: Jennifer Tutak
  • 1996-1997: Rita Martin
  • 1995-1996: David Rodrigues

Your Essay

Getting Started:

Sometimes the hardest part in getting started is coming up with a topic for your essay. Perhaps the easiest approach is to pick some aspect of the American Revolution you found particularly interesting when you studied it in school.

There are any number of very interesting characters in the drama of our revolution. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and John Adams come immediately to mind, but you might find that an essay written about a lesser known individual might be more interesting to you and, hopefully, more interesting to the judges.

Events are also appropriate so any battle of the revolution is up for consideration. An analysis of the success or failure of tactics and strategies can make for a good essay thesis. But the revolution was more than battles. John Adam's defense of the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre is just one example.

If you like to "think the big thoughts" you can pursue a thesis on the ideals of the revolution. For some students this approach would be all but impossible but perhaps you enjoy philosophy and can articulate this type of topic well.

So, give it some thought. Talk to your history teacher. Do some brainstorming.

Once you get a topic you'll need to decide what your thesis will be. Yes, it sounds like your English teacher, but in order to write a quality essay you have to know what main point you want to make. If you don't do this, you'll likely ramble through the essay and the judges will, having finished reading it, ask, "What was that about?"

The rest is basically research and writing. We'll be offering some thoughts about this aspect later this fall.

MLA Documentation:

If you need assistance with the proper formatting of your essay and the bibliography here are two suggestions that might help.

  1. Your high school English teacher: He/she can not only help you with formatting but will likely be able to make some suggestions that will improve the writing and content of your essay. It is always a good idea to have someone proof read your work.
  2. Run a web search on "MLA Documentation". You'll put many fine website that give all the information you'll need for your essay. Here's one that we thought was helpful:

Contact Us:

Thanks for your interest in our contest. If you have additional questions, or suggestions by which we can improve the contest, please contact us using one of the methods below.

Via Post:

Sons of the American Revolution
Knight Essay Contest
7507 Summerbridge Dr.
Tampa, Florida 33634-2260
Or email the essay to:

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