Statewide Sponsor: ICCTA (Illinois Community College Trustees Association)
Local Sponsor: RVC Dept. of Composition & Literature
For more information, contact Professor Kerri Shaw: (815) 921-3309 (Office is CLI 2139)
This contest is an annual event that is open to all currently enrolled Rock Valley College students.
To qualify, each essay must be brief (fewer than 500 words), must be typed, and must address the contest theme: “How My Community College Has Changed My Life.” You do not have to use this theme as the title of your essay, but you may do so. Otherwise, create your own, original title related to this theme.
Essays will be judged for writing style, clarity of expression, and topic relevance, with special emphasis on correct grammar and punctuation.
Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification of the essay.
A total of $650 in monetary awards will be distributed. The amount of money each winner receives will be determined by placement in Rock Valley College’s campus-wide contest. Winners also will receive certificates at the annual Writing Awards Ceremony. These RVC awards, along with the ceremony, are sponsored by the Dept. of Composition, Literature & Journalism.
The first place winning essay from RVC's campus-wide contest will be entered into a statewide contest involving entries from community colleges across Illinois. This contest will be judged by a panel of ICCTA members and will result in a single Illinois winner.
The winner selected in the statewide competition will receive a $500 cash stipend for educational expenses during fall 2018 and an invitation to attend a June, 2018, awards banquet .
Entries should be submitted electronically to K.Shaw@rockvalleycollege.edu by no later than 6:00 pm on Friday March 2nd, 2018.
Your email should refer to the Paul Simon Essay Contest in its subject line and your entry should be attached as either a .docx or .pdf file. To assist with the judging, entrants are asked NOT to include their name or any personal information on the essay itself. Instead, you should print only your Rock Valley College Student ID number on the essay itself, and include a separate cover page with the following contact information:
Entries submitted to the contest may be used for publicity purposes by the college or the RVC foundation.
In May of 2012, it was announced that Rock Valley College student Rebecca Hines won the Paul Simon Student Essay Contest for the state of Illinois. Her essay was chosen as the winner by a panel of ICCTA (Illinois Community College Trustees Association) members from among 24 entries by students representing community colleges from across the state.
Hines was the first and still only student from RVC to claim the top prize in the state competition since the competition was created in 1990.
For winning the state’s top honor, Hines also received an additional $500 award and a trip to a special awards luncheon in Normal, Illinois, where Lt. Governor Sheila Simon was on hand to help present the scholarship named after her father, Paul Simon.
You can read Rebecca’s full essay as it was published in the RVC Foundation’s Annual Report to the Community in 2012.