The Tea Party is Going to Judge Sum Essays


This morning I turned on Facebook and friend in Northern California was dismayed to see that the Tea Party would be hosting an essay contest in her town. Actually it was at her child’s middle school. She felt like middle school was too young for politics and there I disagree because both of my children are made to follow this election cycle as part of their middle school curriculums. What I think she meant was that middle school students were too young to have outside influences on their politics and that it should be taught by educators without bias. That is a sentiment with which I heartily agree.

I’m not certain that a Tea Party sponsored essay contest is problematic in public education. It seems at though political groups sponsor all sorts of contests including an essay contest by the El Dorado Dems with prizes starting at ten times what the Tea Party is offering.

I have one great concern about this contest. How will the Tea Partiers of El Dorado Hills know when a student has used an apostrophe correctly?





US Constitution Essay Contest

Information and Rules


For Constitution Month the Tea Party Patriots of El Dorado Hills are offering an Essay Contest that addresses a fundamental principle of the US Constitution.  We have aligned our contest with Constitution month in the schools and the local library.  We have worked hand in hand with the El Dorado Hills library and coordinated our efforts to support you in this contest.  The goal of this contest is for students to utilize the resources provided by their school and the local library to write this essay.


The Contest will be held at three schools, Oak Ridge High School, Marina Middle School and Rolling Hills Middle School.  Three prizes will be given away at each school, a Grand Prize, Second Place Prize and Third Place Prize at each school.  The prize money will be the same at each school. 

Grand Prize: $100                                       Second Place: $75                                           Third Place: $25

Essay Question

The Middle School Question

What is the difference between a republic and a democracy?

The High School Question

Why do you believe our Forefathers choose a republican form of government for our country versus a democracy?  Please focus your paper on the differences between the two and why our Forefathers chose a republican versus a democracy.

Resources Available to You:

The El Dorado Hills Library will have a research day every Friday in September (after school) and all afternoon on Saturday, September 15th will be dedicated to helping students find the resources they need to answer the essay questions.

The El Dorado Hills Library will also have a guest speaker, Dr. Beeman of the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Beeman will discuss the essay question in his presentation at Oak Ridge High School on September 24th.  Please contact the library for more information on the time and exact location at Oak Ridge.


Essay Contest Rules

1. All entries must be submitted by email to:  (All submissions have to be an attachment to your email.)  Microsoft Word or PDF is the preferred format for submission

                  a. No Entries will be accepted after midnight on September 30th.

2. All Essays must be an original work.  Plagiarizing even one sentence will result in the essay being withdrawn from the contest.

                  a. All essays will be submitted to Turn It to be checked for plagiarism after submission.

3. All work from other sources included in your essay must be properly cited.  Contestants can choose whatever recognized system of citation that they desire.  But any work in the essay that is not the contestants work must be cited or it will be considered plagiarism.

                  a. Please refer to Noodle for assistance in creating citations.

4.  All essays will be evaluated based on the rubrics that can be found at:

 Two readers will score each essay.  The two scores will be averaged to assign the essay its final score.  The three essays from each school with the highest scores will receive the prizes accordingly.

5.  All winners will be contacted by no later than October 12th. The prize money will be awarded shortly after October 12th.

6. Each contestant can only submit one essay. 


Format That Your Paper Must Be Submitted In:

Your School Name                                                                                                 Your Name

Your Grade                                                                                                    Your Email Address

Yes/No my name can/’t be submitted to the press if I win the contest.                   Evening Phone Number


Title of Essay

Your Essay

A Stranger Told Me to TALK to my Daughter


Recently my mother showed up at my house with my 6th grade spiral notebook. I flipped through the pages but never really read any of it. Which is weird, but I know I’m weird, just accept that as background.

There was an essay in there that is hideous. After sharing it on YouTube someone suggested to me that I get in touch with the folks from Mortified. And that is how I came to be standing a pretty girl’s living room while a kind stranger suggested I talk to my daughter.

In the middle of the day today I had my non-audition for Mortified. They don’t call it an audition, so I won’t either. For all intents and purposes it was an audition and I am not an auditioner. I got my job at Momversation from begging and pleading, you know, the old fashioned way.

So I’m there at 12.30 with a spiral notebook in my hands, and I’d been to mixed doubles last night where folks were really irritated with me for not shaking hands, but fuck ’em. I’m tired of having these low level illnesses. I’m taking a ridiculous amount of immunosuppresants and I’m still walking around with herpes explosions of my face every time I have the tiniest bit of stress. So I’m not shaking hands with anyone, but I still don’t know how to walk into a room without shaking hands with people or even hugging and kissing hello, because I’m touchy and huggy and an I want to make contact type of woman.

So I walk in the room and sort of wave hello and announce that I’m not shaking hands. This leads to a discussion of my Rheumatoid Arthritis which is not what I want to be discussing but like a dope I’ve led with it, so this is what we’re going to be discussing.

This is when I realize that I’m in an unusual setting. I’m the fourth person in a room full of story tellers. This trio is a trio of listeners, they ask probing questions and they actually care about the answers. One of them looks like my step brother, I’m relaxed and nervous all at once. I want them to like me because I like them and I wish with all my might that we could talk about them instead of me. I realize I’ve made a mistake. I’m not that interesting, I don’t have any angst ridden journals. I wasn’t introspective and it’s unlikely that I ever will be.

They ask me what I do for a living. I’m a blogger. I explain briefly that I’ve been building communities and blah blah, but no one really understands what a blogger really is. Which is fine. They ask me what I write about. “Lifestyle.” I say, “I’ll probably write about this.”

So now I’m reading and we all know it’s not a match, but they ask me what else is in there. “I don’t know.” I tell them. Because I really don’t know. I’d scanned the pages but it was all poetry and there are few things I hate more than poetry. Maya Angelou’s sentences seem incomplete, but I guess I can appreciate Poe.

So I read my 6th grade poem to them and as I’m reading the words for the first time in 28 years I realize that I’ve turned into my mother. Neil looks thoughtful and asks me if I’ve ever shared that with my daughter. I explain to him that I’m looking at it for the first time today. He’s thoughtful, David and Anne are complimentary and I realize that we could all sit in the room for hours and I have a million questions for them but really I just want to be with my family.

From 28 years ago, this is the poem.

Mommy’s Girl
Don’t wear too much makeup;
I don’t want to fight.
Please wear your jeans looser,
Your shirts not so tight.
I really don’t care,
What the others do;
They may look “flashy”,
But I don’t want you to.
I do this for you;
I may sound like a witch,
But later you’ll thank me,
And give your friends the pitch.
If we can be friends,
I’m sure we’ll get along.
And someday you’ll find,
It’s tough to be a mom.

Ugh. I know. Shut up!

My husband asked me where I was today. “I went to a thing about a thing.” I told him. “Can we talk later?”

Just. Mortified.