“What Does Memorial Day Mean to Me?”

2014 Essay Contest Official Rules

Proudly Present...

Text Box: In cooperation with:

Highland Memorial Park, Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, and Ayres, Cluster Law Firm in cooperation with the Marion County School System announces its sixth annual essay contest titled, What Does Memorial Day Mean to Me?”




The contest is open to all Marion County, FL middle and high school students. The purpose of the contest is to create an educational awareness involving the young people in our community so that they can learn more about the price of freedom.


Official Rules


1. Eligibility: Entrants must be middle or high school students enrolled in the Marion County Public School system (entries from private, charter and home schools will also be accepted).

2. Format: Entries must be presented in the format of a Personal Essay, between 300-325 words, using a double-spaced 12-point font and must include a bibliography (not included in the word count).


3. Topic: “What Does Memorial Day Mean to Me?”


4. Research: Research is essential in creating a quality essay. Please cite library resources, Web URLs with access dates, and personal interviews.


5. Bibliography: The bibliography must cite at least two references. Entries that do not include a bibliography will be disqualified.


6. Essay Entries: Must be submitted and received between April 1 and April 30, 2014. Entries cannot be acknowledged or returned, and they become the property of Highland Memorial Park. Essays can be delivered to your Guidance Counselor’s office or, they can also be mailed to: Highland Memorial Park, Attn: Beverly Brown, PO Box 2047, Ocala, FL 34478-2047. Entries must be accompanied by a 3x5 index card, attached but not stapled to essay, containing the following information: contestant’s name, address, phone and student ID number, name of parent/guardian who will accompany contestant at the awards event.


7. Evaluation Process: Two winning essays will be selected on the following basis:

>25 points—Originality and creativity

>25 points—Compliance with the assigned topic

>20 points—Factual accuracy

>15 points—Grammar and organization of content

>15 points—Scope of research


8. Awards: A $500 Visa Gift Card will be awarded to one each middle & high school first place winner; a $250 Visa Gift Card will be awarded to two each middle and high school runner-up winners.  Each winner and his/her parent/guardian must be present to receive their prize.

Final judging and selection of winners will be made by a committee selected by the Marion County Public School System, Highland Memorial Park & Ayres, Cluster Law Firm. Decision of the judges are final. Results will be announced on May 26, 2014 at the Essay Contest Awards Ceremony at Highland Memorial Park located at 1515 NE Third Street in Ocala. Winning essays will be featured on the Hiers-Baxley.com and HighlandMemorialDay.com websites and other related print and electronic media.