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Cliff Weiss Memorial Essay Contest



The Cliff Weiss Memorial Essay Contest is now open for 2013!

The Association for Career and Technical Education sponsors an essay contest in the memory of former ACTE Senior Director of Communications Cliff Weiss (1951-2004). Cliff Weiss had a passion for career and technical education. He believed very strongly in the value of CTE and always felt privileged to be involved in bringing the message of this value to the public. Cliff shared his gift for communicating and with it enhanced everything that was done at ACTE. The purpose of this contest is to recognize CTE students who share the same passion and talents. One entry in each category, video essay and open multimedia essay, will be selected to receive an award of $150. Entries will also be used to advance and promote CTE in the United States. We anticipate that the winning entries will be distributed widely to media, policymakers and other important audiences.

Entrants must be either secondary or postsecondary students enrolled in at least one career and technical education course. Entries must be submitted between April 1 and April 30, 2013. Winners will be announced by mid-May.

All entries must share thoughts in response to the following prompt by either multimedia essay entry or a video essay, "vlog," entry:

"How has your CTE program improved your career opportunities?"

Persuasive video essay or "vlog": Communicating the impacts of career and technical education is important to ensure programs are supported by the community, business and industry, and local, state and federal policymakers. CTE professionals advocate for CTE funding that provides the important, high-tech and workforce relevant equipment, professional development and other support needed to ensure students receive the skills and training for today's in-demand fields. Now it's your chance to add your voice and share why CTE is important to you! In a vlog of 90 seconds, please share your response to the following prompt:

"How has your CTE program improved your career opportunities?"

Open multimedia essay (all levels): Create a multimedia piece to inform and persuade the audience about your argument focused on the prompt:

"How has your CTE program improved your career opportunities?"

Multimedia pieces are websites, digital brochures or short videos. Multimedia pieces should include links, incorporate concrete examples of your own CTE experiences in your school, job training and CTSO participation, and be suitable for sharing via social media and the Internet. Students may post their submissions to the web, YouTube or e-mail them to ACTE. Submissions may be shared through ACTE social media outlets.

Application Procedures
Each entrant shall submit the following:

  1. 90 second video essay or a multimedia essay piece. Entrants may submit to both categories. Entrants may also work in teams and submit entries as a team.
  2. Entries must be submitted in one of the following formats: .pdf with original files for a multimedia brochure or poster; links to digital multimedia content (a web page, etc.) Video essay submissions must be in .mp4 or .mov format.
  3. Entrants must include a cover sheet that clearly states their name, address, phone number, e-mail address, school name, school address, teacher's name, school's phone number and the category. Please indicate whether you attend a high school CTE program or a postsecondary school (community or technical college).
  4. Video essay entrants should not share their full name in the video.
  5. Essays and links to essays must be submitted via e-mail to essaycontest@acteonline.org.

Please note: All entries become the property of ACTE and will not be returned. ACTE will notify the winning entry only.

The video essay category will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Content
    • relationship to topic  
    • logical organization  
    • clarity of message  
    • expressiveness  
    • references to current local or national news, events or studies on education, employment, etc. that relate to the topic.
    • use of concrete examples to support arguments
  • Technical Quality
  • Sound cannot be over 0 dBFS.
  • Videos must be submitted in .mp4 or .mov format
  • Submissions are "broadcast safe" (correct excess luma)

The multimedia essay category will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Content
    • relationship to topic
    • logical organization
    • clarity of message
    • use of visuals (graphics, photos)
    • expressiveness
    • use of concrete examples to support arguments
    • References to current local or national news, events or studies on education, employment, etc. that relate to the topic.
  • Technical Quality
    • spelling, grammar, punctuation
    • adherence to length guidelines:
      • no more than two web pages (linked together) for a website
      • no more than three panels for a brochure (brochure may be printed on front & back)
      • no more than two minutes for a video

The essays will be judged based on the criteria above. Judges will have final say, and entrants may not challenge or appeal.

 The Fine Print

  1. ACTE reserves the right to publish, reproduce, copy and display winning essays in any format, print or electronic.
  2. ACTE will only notify the winner by telephone, regular mail or e-mail according to the information provided on their cover sheet.
  3. The winning essays will be published and/or mentioned on the ACTE website, and winners will be announced in Techniques.
  4. The winner of each category (video essay and multimedia essay) will receive $150.

View Last Year's Cliff Weiss Memorial Essay Contest Winners:

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