Story of America Essay

The goal of the Operation Protect & Defend Story of America Essay Contest is to encourage critical thinking, active discussion and thoughtful writing about what it means to be a “good citizen” in America today.

Americans enjoy a broad range of Constitutional rights that persons living in many other countries do not. These rights include freedom of speech and religion, a right to a fair trial, and a right to due process and equal protection, to name a few. Along with these rights, we believe, come certain responsibilities, including the responsibility of each new generation of Americans to maintain and protect those rights in light of the circumstances and challenges facing their lives, their communities, and their nation. Teachers working with Operation Protect & Defend have developed a curriculum related to these rights. This course of study includes selected readings provided by the teachers, along with relevant court opinions. It also involves in-class discussion and in-class writing about questions raised by the materials.

Based on the above, all 12th grade students in participating classes within the Sacramento City Unified School District, Twin Rivers Unified School District, San Juan Unified School District, Natomas Unified School District, Folsom Cordova Unified School District, Elk Grove Unified School District, and the Sacramento County Office of Education are invited to enter this essay contest. Students compete for cash awards.


  • Justice Robert K. Puglia Most Original and Inspirational Essays Awards, Two Awards of $1,000.00 each
  • Hon. Frank C. Damrell Jr. (Ret.) Lawyers’ Choice Essay Award, Two Awards of $1,000.00 each
  • Jean McEvoy Memorial Award, One Award of $1,000.00
  • Bion M. Gregory Essay Recognition Awards, Awards of $250.00 each
  • Teachers’ Choice Awards, Awards of $200.00 each

Current Prompt:

The deadline for submitting an essay in this year’s Story of America Essay Contest is March 11, 2024. Please see the prompt and instructions for more details on how to enter. And here are the documents:

Students in Classroom