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Signet Essay Contest

Announcing the 23rd Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest

Read the winning essays from previous years »

With an unbeatable lineup of over 300 of the greatest literary works the world has ever known, Signet Classics is the publisher that students, education professionals and the public turn to more than any other. Now, we are proud to host our twenty-third annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest, in which five high school juniors or seniors (or home-schooled students aged 16-18) can each win a $1,000 scholarship award to be used toward their higher education plus a Signet Classics library for their school or public library! Essays must be submitted by a high school English teacher (or a parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students) on behalf of students who write an essay on one of five topics for this year’s competition book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Essay Subject

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Topics

Select one of the following five topics:

  1. Huck and Jim are the novel’s protagonists, but can they also be called heroes? What qualities do they possess that make them such? How do they prove themselves through their actions?
  2. The dialect used in the book, particularly the racial slurs, has long been controversial. How does the use of dialect add to or take away from the book as a work of literature? Give examples.
  3. How does Huck’s attitude toward Jim change over the course of the novel? Discuss some incidents that illustrate the evolution of their relationship.
  4. Huck begins with enormous disadvantages. He is orphaned and abused, often homeless, and poorly educated. What personality traits, skills, and talents help him to rise above his circumstances?
  5. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been banned from a number of schools across the nation. Critics cite the immoral behavior of the characters and racism as reasons to keep the book away from students. What are your reactions to these criticisms? What arguments can you give against banning the book?
Official Rules for 23nd Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest

IMPORTANT: Please read these Official Rules before entering the Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest (the “Contest”), presented by Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC (“Sponsor”). By entering the Contest, you agree to the terms of these Official Rules.  These Official Rules shall govern in the event of any inconsistency with other Contest-related materials.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. 

ELIGIBILITY:  The Contest is open to 11th and 12th grade full-time matriculated students who are attending high schools located in the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, or homeschooled students between the ages of 16-18 who are residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia at time of entry. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Employees of Sponsor its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, and agencies, and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter the Contest.

ENTRY PERIOD: The Contest begins at 12:01 AM (EST) on July 1, 2018, and ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on April 15, 2019. All entries must be postmarked by April 15, 2019 and received on or by April 22, 2019.

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Matriculated students: Four (4) copies of the essay should be mailed by an English teacher on behalf of the student (each English teacher may submit only one junior and one senior essay). Each of the four (4) copies of the essay should include a cover letter on school letterhead and the following details:
  • Date
  • Student’s full name, grade, address, e-mail and home telephone number
  • Name of high school
  • Name, email and daytime telephone number of English teacher submitting essay
    (please include summer contact information if different from school year contact
    information)
  • Name, e-mail and daytime telephone number of the school’s administration officer
  • Topic selected (#1, #2, #3, #4 or #5)
  • Certification by teacher that the essay is the student’s original work
    • Essays submitted without a cover letter on school letterhead or cover letters that do not include the above details will be disqualified.
  1. Home-schooled students: Four (4) copies of the essay must be mailed by a parent or legal guardian on behalf of the student. Each of the four (4) copies of the essay should include a cover letter on the parent/legal guardian’s letterhead that certifies that the student is home-schooled and includes the following details:
  • Date
  • Student’s full name, address, e-mail and home telephone number
  • Student’s equivalent grade
  • Name and daytime telephone number and e-mail of the sponsoring parent/
    legal guardian
  • Topic selected (#1, #2, #3, #4 or #5)
  • Certification by sponsoring parent/legal guardian of home-schooled student that
    the essay is the student’s original work

    • Essays submitted without a cover letter on parent/legal guardian’s letterhead or cover letters that do not include the above details will be disqualified.
  1. Essays must be at least two and no more than three double-spaced pages, computer or typewritten (please do not staple submissions). Please include four (4) copies (including four (4) cover letters) of each essay submitted. Entries must be mailed to Penguin Publishing Group, Academic Marketing Department, Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest #23, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. To be eligible, all entries must be postmarked by April 15, 2019 and received on or by April 22, 2019. Submissions by fax, email or any other electronic means will not be considered.

Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry of information by entrants; lost or late entries; or other errors or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human, or electronic. Incomplete or illegible entries will be voided. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. If for any reason the Contest is not capable of being conducted as described in these rules, Sponsor shall have the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest.

Submissions including photographs may not include obscene, offensive or inappropriate (in Sponsor’s sole and absolute discretion) material or defame any person, or otherwise infringe on any person’s proprietary rights.  If you are submitting a photograph, you must have permission from the photographer (or be the photographer yourself) and have permission from any persons who appear in the photo before submitting it.

PRIVACY POLICY: All information submitted in connection with entry to this Contest shall be governed by Sponsor’s privacy policy (at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/privacy/). By entering this Contest, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to this privacy policy.

PRIZE: 

Five (5) Grand Prize Winner(s) will each receive (i) a check for one thousand dollars ($1,000) to be used toward winner’s tuition and/or expenses related to their higher education; and (ii) a Signet Classics Library for the Winner’s school library, or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner. (Grand Prize Approximate Retail Value: $2,600)

No transfer or cash or other substitution of all or part of a prize is permitted, except by Sponsor, which reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to substitute the prize or prize component with another of comparable or greater value. Any and all taxes on the prize will be the responsibility of the winners. Sponsor shall not be responsible for any delays, damage in the delivery of the prize, and/or loss of any prize in connection with delivery of the prize via mail.  In the event that there is an insufficient number of eligible entries, Sponsor reserves the right not to award the prizes.

JUDGING/WINNER SELECTION:

Five (5) Grand Prize Winner(s) will be selected by a qualified panel of independent scholars chosen by Penguin Publishing Group on or about June 21, 2019 from all eligible entries received by the entry deadline. Entries will be judged on style, content, grammar, and originality, with equal weight being given to each criterion. Judges will look for clear, concise writing that is original, articulate, logically organized, and well supported. Winning essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes and issues presented in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The decisions of the Sponsor with respect to the selection of the winners, and in regard to all matter relating to this Contest, shall be final and binding. Winners will be notified via email and must respond to email notification within ten (10) days of receipt. Winners may also be required to complete, execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release. The Winner’s school library or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner that will receive a Signet Classics Library shall also be required to provide a Federal Tax Identification Number to Sponsor for issuance of a 1099 form, in connection with its receipt of this portion of the prize. Noncompliance with these conditions may result in forfeiture of the Prize, and Sponsor reserves the right to select alternate winners in such circumstance. If winner notification of the Prize is returned as undeliverable, Sponsor may, at its discretion, select an alternate winner.

DISCLAIMERS:  By competing in this Contest and/or accepting the prize, entrants agree that Sponsor, and its respective parent companies, assigns, subsidiaries and affiliates, and advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies and all of their respective employees, officers and directors will have no liability whatsoever, and will be held harmless by entrants for any liability for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind to person and property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prizes, or participation in this Contest. By accepting a prize, each Winner consents and grants Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free license to use their name, city, comments, photographs and/or other likenesses and their entries for publicity, advertising or informational purposes, including without limitation, posting on Sponsor’s Contest website, Facebook pages, Twitter or Instagram accounts, with no additional compensation or further permission (except where prohibited by law).

Any dispute arising from this Contest will be determined according to the laws of the State of New York, without reference to its conflict of law principles, and by entering the entrants consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in New York County and agree that such courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all such disputes.

WINNERS LIST:  For a list of the Winners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope by December 21, 2018 to Penguin Publishing Group, Academic Marketing Department, Attn: Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

SPONSOR:  Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

 

The title for the 24th Annual Signet Classics Essay Contest will be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Essay topics will be posted on our website after July 2019.

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