Deerfield Optimists Essay Contest


The Deerfield Optimists have been running an essay contests for NSSED (North Shore Special Education District) middle school students for almost 30 years.  It give these students a chance to win an academic award, something that most of them have never done.

Sometimes in January we meet with an NSSED supervisor and chose a topic for the essay.  NSSED sends an invitation to the middle school teachers to participate, and by March they submit the essays to us.  Fifteen (in five teams of three) of us volunteer to judge the essays.  We choose one student from every class for a “best of class” award.

The judges meet again and choose three winners  (1st, 2nd and 3d place)

Invitations are sent out to all the families of the students inviting the student and immediate family to an awards dinner (first Tuesday in May) at the Deerfield High School cafeteria.

We give all students a certificate of participation.  We give all “best of class” students a plaque.  We give the three top winners a plaque and gift cards to Barnes and Noble. ($100, $50 and $25)  We give all teachers $15 gift cards.

Some topics  that we used for past  essay contest are:

If I could be any famous person, who would it be and why

How I touched the life of another person and how  the experience changed me.

Pick a place in the world and describe what your life might be like living in that location

I’m Unique Because …

Describe the most important lesson you have learned in your life so far. How did you learn the lesson, and how has it changed the way you think, feel, or act?

Last year we had students from Deerfield, Highland Park, Highwood, Northbrook and Glenview. There were 18 classes and 140 students.  We had 240 people at the dinner.

Contact us about the Essay Contest!

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