Skip to main content
Sign In

World Down Syndrome Day Essay Contest

January 21, 2013 through March 4, 2013

Submission deadline has been extended to Monday, March 4, 2013!

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Crnic Institute: World Down Syndrome Day Essay Contest for Middle School and High School Students.

One winner from Middle School (6th-8th grades), and one winner from High School (9th-12th grades) in Colorado will be selected from each of the following categories.

Submit your essay here!

          Individual – Student with Down syndrome
          Essay Writing Prompt: How is my life just like yours?
          Individual - Student without Down syndrome
          Essay Writing Prompt: How my friend or sibling with Down syndrome has positively influenced

          my life.

          Collaborative – 2 friends or siblings – one without Down syndrome & one with
          Down syndrome - both need to write about the positive influence of each other
          Essay Writing Prompt - Student without Down syndrome: Explain how having a friendship with a
          friend or sibling with Down syndrome has taught you about unconditional friendships versus your
          friendships with typical friends.

          Essay Writing Prompt - Student with Down syndrome: Tell about your friendship with this friend
          and how it has influenced or changed your life.

  1. One winner will be selected from each category (Individual-with Down syndrome; Individual-without Down syndrome; Collaborative-one friend with Down syndrome & one friend without Down syndrome) from middle school (6th-8th grades) & high school (9th-12th grades) in Colorado.
  2. Winners from the 2012 essay contest are not eligible for the 2013 essay contest.
  3. All essays must be written in English.
  4. Good essays typically contain 400-500 words, essays are limited to 750 words, excluding the title. In the Individual and Collaborative Categories, students with Down syndrome may submit their essay through Microsoft Power Point (not more than 15 slides), if desired.
  5. Teachers may submit the five best essays in each category written by their students. Essays received in excess of this limit will be disqualified, and three randomly chosen essays will be scored.
  6. A teacher or administrator must submit the essays and authenticate that the submission is the original work of the student. Parents may submit the essays of students who are home-schooled. Only one entry may be submitted for each student.
  7. Essays must be submitted electronically through the Linda Crnic Institute web site at from January 21, 2013 through March 4, 2013. Essays must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm MST on March 4, 2013. Once submitted, essays cannot be changed or revised. Winners will be announced by 3/21. Essays mailed or faxed to the Institute will NOT be accepted.
  8. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Essays found to contain the work of others will be disqualified, and the student’s teacher will be notified.
  9. The text of student essays must be original prose. Students must use quotation marks when quoting other people.
  10. Parents of students who are home-schooled are not eligible for the $1500 teacher prize.
  11. Winning teachers are required to submit a one paragraph description on how they will use a portion of their award to foster inclusive practices and friendships for students with Down syndrome.

Please note that text from essays may be used for other purposes within the Crnic Institute; for example, content may be used on our website to share how all our lives are similar and how people with Down syndrome positively enrich everyone’s lives. Student text may be published on the Linda Crnic Institute Website or in other Crnic Institute-supported publications.

Submission will include: Student Name, Grade Level, Student Email, Teacher Name, Teacher Email, Teacher Phone Number, Principal Name, Principal Email, School Name, School Address, School Phone Number.

For collaborating teams, prizes may be split between participating parties, e.g. general education teacher and special education teacher.

Scoring Criteria Points

Effective use of writing prompt

0 - 6

Voice-Writer’s voice is authentic, confident, convincing, and imbedded within the text

0 - 6

Writing quality (composition, grammar, syntax, spelling)

0 - 4

​Organization - Structure includes introduction, body, conclusion ​0 - 5

Use of people first language (definition: The practice of using care and respect in language when talking about people with Down syndrome. For example, one would say "child with a Down syndrome" versus "Down syndrome child." This puts the person first and emphasizes the person instead of the disability.)

0 - 4

Total points possible:


  • 1st Place: iPod Nano
  • 2nd Place: Kindle E-reader 
  • 3rd Place: iPod Shuffle

Each Teacher of 1st place winner(s) will receive $1500 grant for classroom use

What is World Down Syndrome Day?

World Down Syndrome Day creates a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome on the 21st of March, 3-21.