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The Riverton Essay Competition

The Riverton Tenants Association (RTA) is sponsoring an Essay Competition to provide financial support to currently enrolled full-time and part-time students who are Riverton residents. Prizes will be awarded for two student categories as follows:

Category A includes Riverton residents who are currently enrolled in a:

  • 4-year college or university

  • 2-year junior or community college or

  • Career technical education (CTE) / trade school program 

Category B includes currently enrolled graduate school students.

Essays are graded on a scale of 1-4, with the highest score being a 4.0. Contestants who score at least a 3.0 will be eligible for prizes, with the top three scores in each category earning prizes. If no contestants score at least a 3.0 out of 4.0, non-monetary forms of academic support will be provided in lieu of monetary prizes.

Prizes in each category will be distributed as follows:

1st place: $2000         2nd place: $1200          3rd place: $800

Applicants Must Meet All of the following Criteria

  1. Applicants must be able to provide proof of current Riverton residency (see Submission and Format Requirements for more information)

  2. Eligibility is limited to applicants who are currently enrolled (full-time or part-time) in a degree or certificate program in one of the following: 4-year college or university; 2-year community or junior college; post-secondary career technical education (CTE) or trade school; graduate school.

  3. All applicants must present proof of a minimum 2.5 GPA

Essay Submissions

  1. Only one entry per applicant is allowed.

  2. Students in Category A must answer the essay question for that category only. Likewise, students in Category B must answer the essay question for that category only.

  3. Essays that do not respond to the question or topic in the appropriate category based on school enrollment will be disqualified.

  4. Plagiarism is NOT allowed. Plagiarism is grounds for disqualification. Applicants must use their own words and cite sources consistently. If you use a source or quote from a source, make that clear by citing the source. We will use all available methods to detect plagiarism.

Essay Format

  1. The essay must include your name, the date, and an essay title.

  2. The body of the essay cannot exceed 500 words (your name, the date, and the title are not included in the word count). Essays that exceed 500 words will be disqualified.

  3. Applicants should label and upload the any materials they submit as follows:

 

 Category A Upload Format:  Last Name, First Name, Essay Contest Category A, Fall 2022

                                                     Example:  Smith, Courtney, Essay Contest Category A, Fall 2022

 

 

Category B Upload Format:  Last Name, First Name, Essay Contest Category B, Fall 2022

                                                    Example:  Jones, David, Essay Contest Category B, Fall 2022

Please let us know in advance if you have familial, friendly, or collegial relationships with the RTA Board (listed here) or members of the Education Committee. Failure to disclose may result in disqualification. Members of the Education Committee include:

  • Jackie Spellen

  • Jackye Stephenson

  • Lucia Winston

  • Shawn Chin-Chance

  • Stephanie Foster

  • Trevor Thompson

The Riverton Essay Competition

The Riverton Tenants Association (RTA) is sponsoring an Essay Competition to provide financial support to currently enrolled full-time and part-time students who are Riverton residents. Prizes will be awarded for two student categories as follows:

Category A includes Riverton residents who are currently enrolled in a:

  • 4-year college or university

  • 2-year junior or community college or

  • Career technical education (CTE) / trade school program 

Category B includes currently enrolled graduate school students.

Essays are graded on a scale of 1-4, with the highest score being a 4.0. Contestants who score at least a 3.0 will be eligible for prizes, with the top three scores in each category earning prizes. If no contestants score at least a 3.0 out of 4.0, non-monetary forms of academic support will be provided in lieu of monetary prizes.

Prizes in each category will be distributed as follows:

1st place: $2000         2nd place: $1200          3rd place: $800

Essay Templates

Please review the following essay templates as guidance for how to write a structured, coherent, and persuasive essay.

Essay Template

Basic Outline of a Paper

Essay Topics 

CATEGORY A Topic (for undergraduates and CTE students): Reducing Gun Violence Among Youth in Harlem.

Analysis of recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed startling developments concerning gun violence. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents (ages 1-19) in the United States.[1] In Harlem, on July 26, 2022, a 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy one week earlier.[2]

 

Tell us what can be done to reduce gun violence among children and adolescents in Harlem.

 

CATEGORY B Topic (for graduate students): What Troubles You, and How Will You Leverage Your Studies to Address the Problem?

Choose any local, national, or international event or problem. How does it impact Harlem and/or other low-income communities of color? After you finish your graduate studies, how might you leverage your credentials and expertise to address the problem?

 

[1] Goldstick, JE. Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents in the United States. N Engl J Med 2022; 386:1955-1956; see https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2201761

 

[2] https://abc7ny.com/harlem-shooting-nyc-teens-shot-nypd/12073742/

Extra Writing Tips

  • Review the essay writing templates provided to better understand how to write a convincing, structured, and stronger essay.

  • Proofread your essay before submitting it.

  • Use “Spell-check” or “Editor” to check for mistakes.

  • Often, it is helpful to read what you have written aloud to yourself. If something sounds awkward when reading it aloud, it will probably be awkward to the reader. Consider rewriting that section to improve it.

  • Read as often as possible. The more you read, the better your writing will become. This includes essays, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, newspaper articles, and more.

Submission Form

Make sure you have reviewed the information in the previous sections. When ready, please submit your information and essay at this link.

Required Documents

  1. Proof of Riverton residency: must contain your Riverton mailing address (this can include an IDNYC card, driver’s license, NYS non-driver ID card, rent invoice, cable or utility bill, passport, or official school-issued document)

  2. Proof of enrollment in 4- or 2-year college, trade or technical school, or graduate school (official school document with school letterhead, transcript)

  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation, not from relatives or friends. One recommendation should focus on character and may come from a mentor, coach, neighbor, family friend, clergy member, organization leader, etc. The other recommendation should focus on academic performance and potential and should come from an academic professional who is aware of your academic performance and potential.

  4. Academic performance documentation:

  • First-semester college students, university students, and technical/trade students (Category A) must submit a copy of their final report card

  • All other students in Category A and Graduate students (Category B) must submit a copy of their most recent transcript

Review Process and Awards

  1. Essays will be scored on a 4-point scale with 4.0 being the top score.

  2. Only scores of 3.0 or higher will be eligible for a financial award.

  3. The Riverton Tenants Association (RTA) Awards will be disbursed to the top three, highest scoring applicants who score 3.0 or higher as follows:

– 1st place: $2000    2nd place: $1200    3rd place: $800

  1. If no essays receive 3.0 or higher, funds will be repurposed for academic support.

  2. All documents will be kept confidential and will not be shared outside of the purpose of reviewing for the essay competition.

  3. Independent judges skilled in writing will review each essay and assign scores based on a rubric.

  4. The Education Committee will review the top scoring essays, per the recommendations and scores of the independent judges. The subcommittee will only involve itself in judging if there are unusual discrepancies between judges scores, or if there is a need to break a tie.

 

Important Dates

  • October 24 – Deadline for Optional First Draft Submission (Student applicants can submit essay draft for feedback before final submission)

  • November 23, 2022, at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time–The deadline to submit your essay and related documents. Entries submitted after 11:59pm ET on this date will not be accepted.

  • December 13, 2022–Essay award winners announced at RTA Annual Meeting. Checks will be sent to award winners before the start of the spring semester.

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