2024 Essay Contest
WHAT – Applicants will submit an essay between 400-500 words on this topic: You are in charge of getting as many cooperative members as possible to attend an Annual Meeting. How would you do it?
WHO – The contest is open to all high school juniors in the Cotton Electric service area. The students and their families do not have to be Cotton Electric members. Juniors who are sons or daughters of Cotton Electric Cooperative employees and board members are not eligible to participate.
WHEN – The deadline to submit an essay and completed application is Jan. 17, 2024 at 3 p.m.
HOW – The contest is broken into three rounds and starts with the essay contest. Area juniors may submit an essay of between 400-500 words to Cotton Electric.
Writers of the top 15 essays move to the second round, a live video interview, via Zoom. The question-and-answer interview between students and independent judges will be arranged by Cotton Electric.
The top five will advance to the final round. The finalists will be required to submit an oral presentation of their essay by a recorded video.
The top two presenters will be awarded either an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. in June 2024.
2024 ESSAY CONTEST
CALL FOR ENTRIES
All high school juniors attending schools within the Cotton Electric Cooperative service territory are invited to enter the 2024 Cotton Electric Essay contest. The essay contest has three rounds and the top two entries will be awarded one of the following:
All-Expense paid trip to Washington D.C.
Entry forms and contest information is available at www.cottonelectric.com/youthtour.
The contest is open to all high school juniors attending or residing within the district of the schools listed below, including home-schooled students.
The schools are:
Big Pasture, Cache, Central High, Chattanooga, Comanche, Duncan, Elgin, Empire, Geronimo, Grandfield, Indiahoma, Lawton Eisenhower, Lawton High, Lawton MacArthur, Marlow, Ryan, Sterling, Temple, Velma-Alma, Walters and Waurika
Juniors who are sons or daughters of Cotton Electric Cooperative employees and board members are not eligible to participate.
Some schools listed may include students whose parents receive electric service from another electric cooperative. If their electric cooperative does not participate in Youth Tour, such students will be allowed to enter Cotton Electric Cooperative’s contest. If their cooperative sponsors a Youth Tour contest, those students have an option to choose between the two cooperatives. Students will be ineligible if they enter more than one essay or more than one contest.
The contest is broken into three rounds and starts with the essay contest. Area juniors may submit an essay of approximately 500 words to Cotton Electric.
Writers of the Top 15 essays move to the second round, a live video interview. The question-and-answer video call between students and independent judges will be arranged by Cotton Electric.
The Top 5 will advance to the final round. The finalists will be required to make an oral presentation of their essay, either by a recorded video or as a presentation during a banquet at the co-op headquarters in Walters. Videos/presentations will be judged by another set of judges and the final two winners will be determined.
Oct. 31, 2023 Contest opens for entries.
Jan. 17, 2024 Essay deadline – Essays must be submitted online by 3 p.m.
Feb. 8, 2024 Live video interviews of authors of Top 15 essays
Feb. 20, 2024 Deadline to submit Top 5 oral presentation videos.
March 1, 2024 Youth Tour 2024 winners are announced.
June 14, 2024 Youth Tour Banquet, OKC (students, parents/guardians and cooperative staff)
June 15-20, 2024 Oklahoma Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C.
- Topic for 2024 Essay is: You are in charge of getting as many cooperative members as possible to attend an Annual Meeting. How would you do it?
- Fill out all required fields and upload an essay of no fewer than 400 and no more than 500 words on the above topic at www.cottonelectric.com/youthtour.
- Deadline is 3 p.m., January 17, 2024 for uploading completed essays.
- All submissions are made anonymous before submission to judges.
- Entry page on the Cotton Electric website will include links to reference materials. Students are encouraged to seek other sources of information, including libraries, newspaper articles, websites and magazines. Sources must be cited. Citation notes do not count toward the essay word minimum and maximum. BE ORIGINAL!
- Essay will be judged by the following criteria: Knowledge of subject, 40%; Originality, 30%; Composition, 10%; Grammar, 10%; and Spelling & Punctuation, 10%.
- Independent judges will score the essays. The process will narrow the pool of candidates to 15.
- In the second round of competition, the Top 15 essayists will be invited to participate in a live-video interview to discuss the essay and general cooperative knowledge with independent judges. Two employees from other cooperatives will conduct the interviews and select five finalists.
- Finalists will record a video of themselves reciting their essay in a speech-type format. Videos should be five minutes or less in length and will be submitted via email.
- Final judging criteria will be based on Speaking Ability, Knowledge of Subject, Poise, and Personality & Appearance. A panel of three independent judges will rate each speaker.
- The two top presenters will be awarded either an all-expense paid trip (valued at $3,500 per student) to Washington D.C. in June 2024.
- Judges’ decisions throughout the process are final.
Students selected and sponsored by Cotton Electric Cooperative are expected to participate in required preparatory activities related to Oklahoma Your Tour and the full duration of the student program, including group travel to and from Washington, D.C. The student experience has a program value of $3,500 per participant. While cancellations are unfortunate, cancellations received/processed 60-days prior to the day of registration are appreciated and needed to allow cooperatives to find alternate student participants.
Families of selected students who cancel less than 60-days prior to the day of registration, may be responsible for reimbursing the sponsoring cooperative up to 50% of the program value. No shows and families of selected students failing to notify their sponsoring cooperative of nonparticipation, may be held responsible for reimbursing 100% of the program value.
In addition to the information included on our website, students are encouraged to use other sources of information found at the local library or from the internet. Preparing for the Cotton Electric essay contest is a good way to work on creative writing skills that are important for all high school students, especially those planning to attend college.
These links will take you to pages on our website or they will open PDFs. Applicants are encouraged to research other sites and resources.