Imagine A Day Without Water Essay Contest

“Imagine A Day Without Water”
Essay Contest for Grants Pass Middle School and High School Students


A. Who is Eligible: All Grants Pass middle school and high school students, including home-schooled students.

B. Purpose of the “Imagine A Day Without Water” Essay Contest: The City of Grants Pass Public Works Water Department has been supplying quality drinking water to city residents since 1931. In collaboration with partners across the country, the city will participate in the sixth annual Imagine A Day Without Water national education campaign to highlight how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment.

This year, the day of action will take place Oct. 21, and will include events, proclamations, student contests, social media engagement, and more, all across the country.

As students, your ability to assess and understand the importance of and value of water will help ensure that our water resources and infrastructure remain in the forefront of our civic discourse, helping to raise awareness about life’s most essential resource. As community members, our ability to understand the importance and value of water will help to preserve essential water sources, establish and maintain important water infrastructure, and properly provide for the future.

C. Student essays will respond to the following question: “What would a day without water be like?”

Writing Background:

This year, our country faced an enormous public health crisis from the coronavirus pandemic. This crisis demonstrated the critical role that water and wastewater systems play in their communities, protecting public health, safeguarding the environment, and making a healthy economy possible.

Imagine a Day Without Water is a day to pause and notice the way that water systems impact our lives and communities, while we commit to ensuring a sustainable water future for generations to come.

Questions to think about: As a young person in Grants Pass, here are some important questions to think about as you sit down to organize and write your response to the question, “What would a day without water be like?”

  • What does water mean to me?
  • What does water mean to our community?
  • What are the many ways in which water is used every day in our community?
  • Are there dangers to an absence of water?

The Basic Things to Know

  • Word Length: Essay must be from 500-650 words (double spaced).
  • Submission Deadline: The essay is due no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1.
  • Winning Selections Announcement: Student winners will be notified by Oct. 21.

D. Address Essay to “Authentic” Audience: Address your essay to the Grants Pass public. It is an opportunity for you to inform and educate the public.

E. Minimum Qualifying Requirements - Essay Length, Deadline and Rules:

  • Word Length: Essay must be from 500-650 words (double spaced), and each written page must be numbered.
  • Type Size: Essay must be typed in easy-to-read 12 pt. font and submitted electronically (as an attachment) in a WORD or PDF format by the individual student or parent/guardian.
  • Supporting Sources, when used, must be cited properly. Footnotes/works cited are not considered part of the word count. Your essay must have at least two verifiable references/examples from one or more of the following sources:
  • Media: print (e.g., newspapers, books, magazines) or electronic (e.g., television, radio, websites [incl. newspaper websites] and social media)
  • No name should appear on essay pages.
  • Title Page: Each entry must begin with:
    - a title page containing: the official topic, “Imagine A Day Without Water.”
    - total number of words.
    - writer’s name, school name or home school designation, school address, grade, contact phone number/email.

Important Note: do not number the title page.

  • Entry Form: Each entrant, must print out, complete, sign (parent signature for those under 18) and submit the entry form with the completed essay. The form includes—student name, grade, school or home school designation, contact information (email/ phone), signature line, and permission to use your essay, if selected. The participation certificate name will be taken from the entry form.
  • Submission Deadline: The entry form, along with the essay (and title page), must be received by email attachment no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. (No exceptions). Please don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Submit to: Submit your entry form and essay (with title page) to Grants Pass Public Works Department, dphelan@grantspassoregon.gov
    • Use Subject Line: Essay Contest

F. Scoring Process and Criteria: A submitted essay will be scored by a panel of judges on a point scale of 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) on how well the essay addresses the following criteria:

  • Position statement (clarity relative to theme).
  • Supporting Information (supports the position).
  • Organization (structure) - MLA format recommended.
  • Tone of Essay (level of persuasiveness).
  • Writing with an authentic voice and unique point of view and style.
  • Grammar (sentence structure and use of words).
  • Punctuation (correct punctuation and spelling).

G. Judging:

  • Judging will be blind.
  • City of Grants Pass staff will score and ensure all essays meet the minimum qualifying requirements (Section E).
  • Selected staff will score finalists and select the winners.
  • All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.
  • Student winners will be notified by Oct. 21.

H. Prizes and Recognition:

Middle School Student Entrants:

First Place: $100 Gift Card, essay published on City of Grants Pass website and promoted through social media.
Second Place: $50 Gift Card, participation certificate.
Third Place: $25 Gift Card, participation certificate.

High School Student Entrants:

First Place: $100 Gift Card, essay published on City of Grants Pass website and promoted through social media.
Second Place: $50 Gift Card, participation certificate.
Third Place: $25 Gift Card, participation certificate.

Certificate of Participation: All Participants whose essays are submitted to the City of Grants Pass Public Works Department will receive a Certificate of Participation.

*** Reminder: The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Of course, you can send them in earlier. Student winners will be notified by Oct. 21.

I. FOR TEACHERS:

Contest Correlation with Common Core State Standards (ELA-Literacy, Grades 6-12)

Writing with a purpose and for an authentic audience:

6-12.1 Write arguments to support claims (in an analysis of substantive topics or texts) using clear/valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
6-12.4 Produce a clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
6-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, etc.
6-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
6-12.10 Write routinely over extended period of time frames (time for research, reflection and revision) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Questions? Email: dphelan@grantspassoregon.gov.