Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Commemoration Essay Competition (Elementary School Students ONLY)

Organization & Competition Description:
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is pleased to continue its participation in this the Eighteenth (18th) Annual Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Commemoration Essay Competition. Partners include the Chicago History Museum (CHM), the DuSable Park Advisory Council and the Bronzeville Children’s Museum. CPS values its collaborations with cultural, business, and educational institutions throughout the Chicago area. Our partners are dedicated to honoring Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable the modern-day founder of the city of Chicago. Together we are committed to perpetuating the memory of DuSable as the first immigrant and modern day founder of Chicago, through recognition of his contributions in the building of our city into the great center of culture, commerce, diversity and community that it is today.
The Contest is open to students in the third (3rd) and fifth (5th) grades, and provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate excellence in the language arts and to enhance their learning in the social sciences. The Contest will promote the integration of the Illinois Learning Standards with the Reading Instruction Framework and Standards Based Instruction and the Partnership Office.

All citywide essays winners will be recognized during the City of Chicago’s “Happy Birthday Chicago” Celebration, to be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The first, second, and third place citywide winners in each grade will receive awards, including a monetary prize.

REVIEW AND DOWNLOAD APPLICATION: Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Commemoration Essay Competition 2020 APPLICATION HERE
Eligibility Requirements:

  • MUST be a Chicago Public Schools Elementary Student in 3rd OR 5th grade within the 2019-20 School Year
  • Student must complete the application and submit via email

Contest Guidelines:
Chicago Public Schools and partners encourage schools to enter this essay contest with an approach that supports inquiry and demonstrates the pursuit of excellence. Please read these instructions carefully before beginning the contest!

  1. A school may submit up to two (2) entries (one per grade level). Three (3) citywide winners will be selected, in each grade: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Each Citywide winner will be awarded several prizes (including a special prize for first place overall city-wide winners in the 3rd and 5th grades. Second and third place winners will receive monetary prizes. All will be part of the Mayors City of Chicago Birthday Celebration.)
  2. Each entry must be the work of a single student. Group entries are not acceptable.
  3. How to submit applications? Students must download the application here: Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Commemoration Essay Competition (to download the application click the blue text, review the link and then click “Download Application”.) Email a scanned copy of the completed application to
    The email subject title must read: “[DuSable 2020 Essay Submission] STUDENT First & Last NAMESCHOOL NAME.”
    Example: “[DuSable 2020 Essay Submission] Michele Howard – Beasley Academic Center”
    Note: if a school would like to submit all student essays in one email, please provide the same information in the subject line without the student names.
  4. Winning entries must be typed and use 12-point Times New Roman font in a Word Document. (Once winners are selected they must abide by this guideline to submit a typed version of their entry.)
  5. Legible, neatly handwritten entries are acceptable at school level only. (Handwritten winning essays must be typed, exactly as written, and submitted as stated above in #3. The handwritten essay must accompany the typewritten essay.)
    a. There is a 300-word maximum at the third (3rd) grade level.
    b. There is a 500-word maximum for the fifth (5th) grade level.
    c. All punctuation (e.g., period, comma, and semicolon) should be followed by one space.
    d. Do not use Italics or BOLD PRINT
  6. Complete application and submit application/supporting documents via E-mail to by the deadline of 5:00 pm Monday, February 24, 2020.

MANDATORY 2020 Essay question: If DuSable lived today, how would he unite Chicago’s diverse communities to come together? Please include the following elements in your essay:

  • Define diverse communities.
  • How can they come together?
  • Who could bring them together?
  • What could they do?

To help you write your essay:

  • Read the prompt carefully
  • Plan your essay before you begin to write.
  • Write down everything you know about DuSable and the people in his environment and how he worked with them to keep the peace and violence down.
  • Gather all your information and make a plan.
  • Check your final draft for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • Limit your essay to a maximum of 300 words for 3rd grade and 500 words for 5th grade.

Cash Awards:
1st Place $100
2nd Place $50
3rd Place $25

For questions or more information, email Michele Howard, CPS Scholarship Manager at