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 Nineteenth (19th) 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 Office of College and Career Success.

All citywide essay winners will be recognized and receive a monetary award at a special Chicago program. 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 2021 APPLICATION HERE
(The application is a PDF fillable form, students/parents/educators should type directly into the form.The essay can be completed and saved in a word document with the students name, school, grade and teacher name at the top of the document.)
Eligibility Requirements:

  • MUST be a Chicago Public Schools Elementary Student in 3rd OR 5th grade within the 2020-21 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.)
  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 completed application with typed essay to
    The email subject title must read: “[DuSable 2021 Essay Submission] STUDENT First & Last NAMESCHOOL NAME.”
    Example: “[DuSable 2021 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. Entries must be typed and use 12-point Times New Roman font in a Word Document.
    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
  5. Complete application and submit application/supporting documents via E-mail to by the deadline of 5:00 pm Friday, March 12, 2021.

MANDATORY 2021 Essay question: If DuSable lived today, how would he help students do their part in keeping their community and school safe during the COVID 19 pandemic? Please include the following elements in your essay:
Define COVID 19 (coronavirus).

  • What did it do to the people?
  • What impact does ir have on the students?
  • What can students do to keep their community and school safe in helping to defeat this pandemic?

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