Secretary of State Tre Hargett Announces Civics Essay Contest

   Secretary of State Tre Hargett Announces Civics Essay Contest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Secretary of State Tre Hargett announces the theme for the 2023 Civics Essay Contest for Tennessee students from pre-K to 12th-grade is “Why Civility Matters.”

“Encouraging students to become more civically engaged is important to cultivating our state's next generation of great Tennesseans,” said Secretary Hargett. “Now more than ever, Tennesseans are being inundated with negative messages and images. We need to work to break this cycle and prepare our youngest Tennesseans with an understanding of why civility matters and how to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Civics Essay Contest winners will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship and a trip to the State Capitol. First-place winners in each grade level will receive a $500 scholarship, with second and third-place winners receiving $250 and $100, respectively.
All Tennessee students in public, private school or home school associations in grades pre-K to 12th-grade are encouraged to participate. Schools can choose up to two essays from each grade level to submit for the contest. To view contest rules and submit essays online through Friday, Dec. 15, visit
The Secretary of State’s office launched the Civics Essay Contest in 2016. Previous essay themes have included voting, citizenship, civic duty and why your vote matters. 
The Civics Essay Contest is part of Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s longstanding civics engagement program that aims to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens. The Secretary of State also offers lesson plans to help teachers incorporate civic engagement and citizenship into their curriculum.  Tennessee teachers created the free lesson plans based on the Tennessee Blue Book.
For more information about the Civics Essay Contest and the Secretary of State’s other civic engagement education efforts, visit