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USS Constitution High School Essay Contest

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It’s USS Constitution’s 225th Birthday!

We invite high school students celebrate the spirit of Constitution and how its mission can apply to their lives, in their own words.


225 years and counting, the USS Constitution is more than “the oldest commissioned warship afloat.” It is a respected national symbol, designated as America’s “Ship of State.” This designation honors 225 years of service as a global ambassador representing the United States as a symbol of democracy and freedom around the world. From its launch in 1797, to fame in the War of 1812, to its first female captain in 2022, Constitution is an ambassador for the document for which it’s named and the ideals it defines.

How to Enter

Write an essay on the following topic:

USS Constitution is “America’s Ship of State.” This designation honors 225 years of service as a global ambassador representing the United States as a symbol of democracy and freedom around the world.  Imagine if you were designated an ambassador role, like a “Ship of State.” What would your mission be, and how could you live that out? Describe how you would represent the very best of our country’s ideals in your community.


This contest is open to any high-school student, grades 9-12, from a public, private, parochial, or home school.


  • Writing must be no longer than 1000 words.
  • Writing must be double-spaced, in 12-point font, with one-inch margins.
  • Writing must have a title.
  • Writing must be original, with sources cited appropriately. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.


  • Three monetary prizes will be awarded:  First: $500 | Second $250 | Third $100
  • The first-place winner will also receive an invitation to a 2023 Turnaround Cruise on USS Constitution in Boston, MA. Please note: winners will be responsible for their own travel costs.
  • Winners agree to have their writing read aloud on USS Constitution and published on the Museum website.
  • We will not impose restrictions on how to use the award or require any future commitments from the awardees.


Writing is due by March 31, 2023.


Judges include USS Constitution crewmembers, museum staff, and community members. Writing will be evaluated using a consistent set of criteria and guidelines with scores given for the following areas:

  • Originality: Am I writing something unique? Does it have new ideas?
  • Personality: Do my voice and my personal experiences come through? Is it authentic to me?
  • History: Does my writing show an understanding of USS Constitution’s history or mission?
  • Quality of writing: Does my writing hold the reader’s interest? Does it use a range of vocabulary? Is it expressive?
  • Structure & Presentation: Does the writing flow? Is it organized well? Is it free of grammatical and spelling errors?

How to Submit

Submit your writing through the form below. File must be in PDF or Word format. Only one essay per student may be submitted.

Questions? Contact the Museum’s education department at

Grade Level(Required)
Max. file size: 5 MB.
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Need historical inspiration? Read about the 13 year-old who won USS Constitution's last essay contest, in 1925!

Be Inspired