PACES Fifth Annual Susan M. Schantz Fund for Communications Education
 Writing Contest  

Winning Student: $100 Cash Prize

Teacher Sponsor: $100 Supply Prize


For students in grades 9-12 who attend a public school in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 

​Deadline: All papers must be postmarked by Friday, April 21, 2017.


Students should submit an essay of, at minimal, 500 words on the following:

"Action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all."
Elie Wiesel, December 10, 1986, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Oslo

 Respond to Elie Wiesel’s assertion that “Action is the only remedy to indifference:
the most insidious danger of all." The most successful essays will demonstrate thoughtful consideration, organization, and attention to grammatical conventions, while providing examples in support of the theme.  Students may consider combining personal reflection with social commentary. Students are encouraged to research Wiesel and read the full text of this speech for context.

Essays must include the entry form/title page.

There will be one winning paper. The student who wins will receive a $100 prize in the form of a check from PACES. The teacher who sponsors the paper will receive a $100 prize by way of supplies, resources or funds to be used towards a field trip. Students and teachers submitting entries are responsible to read the complete rules and guidelines below.

Entries should be mailed to:
Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students (PACES)
ATTN: Emily Lilly 

874 Kennebec Street

Pittsburgh, PA  15217

Formatting and Rules

In order to be considered for the contest, all essays submitted must meet the following formatting requirements:

  • Minimum 500 words.
  • Typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, size 12, one-inch margins.
  • Include the title page/entry form.
  • Do not put student/teacher name, school, or any other identifier on the essay pages.
  • Title page/entry form and essay must be included.
  • Students and teachers submitting entries are responsible to read and adhere to the official rules and guidelines.

Essays will be graded by a panel within PACES. The ranking criteria will be divided into three areas:

  • Conventions/Grammar
  • Focus/Theme
  • Creativity/Voice

Winning Student Prize

The winning student will receive $100 in the form of a check. The prize will be distributed to the student at the student’s school, in the presence of the sponsoring teacher or other school representative. Should there be some reason PACES cannot attend the school, the prize will be mailed directly to the student.

Role of the Teacher Sponsor

The teacher who sponsors the essay should assist the student in the writing process. That is, while the student submission must be the student’s own, independent work, since there is a prize for the teacher sponsor as well, the teacher is expected to help the student with editing and revisions before submission.

  • Sponsor Teacher Prize - The teacher prize will be distributed in the form of tangible supplies or resources (purchased and supplied by PACES) or as a monetary school donation (check made payable to the appropriate school department) for the purposes of a field trip or other learning opportunity. The sponsor teacher of the winning essay will be given a Supply Request Form and must return it to PACES by an agreed upon date. The prize will be distributed to the teacher at the teacher’s school of employment either in the spring or fall semester of 2017.

​Official Rules


  1. The student must reside in Allegheny County.
  2. The student must be enrolled in, and attend, an Allegheny County public school.
  3. The student must be in one of the following grades: 9, 10, 11, or 12.
  4. The teacher must be employed at the Allegheny County public school where the student attends.
  5. Students or teachers who are themselves, or are related to, or share a household with, any employee or board member of PACES are not eligible.
  6. A student may only submit one entry.
  7. A teacher may only sponsor one entry.
  8. The sponsoring teacher may teach any subject.
  9. The title page/entry form must be completed in its entirety, signed, and submitted.
  10. All entries must be postmarked by April 21, 2017.
  11. By submitting the entry, the student and teacher acknowledge that the essay becomes property of PACES and excerpts may be used (with acknowledgement to the author) on the PACES website or in print material.


The writing contest is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students Inc. located at 874 Kennebec Street, Pittsburgh, PA  15217.

Agreement to Official Rules

Participation in the contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Winning a prize is contingent upon being compliant with these Official Rules and fulfilling all other requirements set forth herein.  The writing contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Contest Period

The contest begins on March 13, 2017 and ends on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm. Entries submitted before or after the contest period will be disqualified. Submissions will be accepted for the duration of the contest.

How to Enter

See the information above. All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned. Entries may, or may not, receive acknowledgement of submission. Submissions should be mailed to Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students, ATTN: Emily Lilly, 874 Kennebec Street, Pittsburgh, PA  15217. Emailed entries will not be accepted.

Winning Selection and Notification

Entries will be judged by a panel formed by PACES and ranked based on the criteria detailed on the previous pages. The winner and teacher sponsor will be announced by Monday, May 9, 2017 on the PACES website The winner and sponsoring teacher will be contacted directly via email and/or phone, provided they submitted accurate contact information on the entry form/title page. If a potential winner cannot be contacted after due diligence on the part of PACES, the winner forfeits the prize. In the event that a potential winner or sponsoring teacher is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor will award the applicable prize(s) to an alternate winner (second place ranking, and so on if necessary).

Prizes and Delivery of Prizes

The student writer of the winning essay will receive a check made out to them from PACES. PACES will deliver the check to the student in the presence of the sponsoring teacher, or another school official, at the school where the student attends. In the event that PACES cannot deliver the prize at the school, or if the school is closed, the check will be mailed to the winner at the home address provided on the entry form.

The teacher sponsor of the winning essay will receive $100 worth of supplies, resources, or funds applied to a field trip/learning opportunity to be delivered during the spring of fall semester of 2017. The teacher will fill out and return the supply/resource/funds request form provided by PACES by an agreed upon date. PACES will then work with the teacher to meet the request and deliver the supplies/resources to the school at which the teacher works. If a teacher chooses to take the prize in form of monetary donation towards the cost of a field trip or other experiential or extracurricular learning opportunity, the prize will be made in the form of a donation to the school’s budget or other approved method through the principal or other school administrator.

General Conditions

In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Contest is impaired in any way for any reason, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either (a) suspend the Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Contest, or (b) terminate the Contest and award the prize from among the eligible, non-suspect entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages (including attorneys fees) and other remedies from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Failure by the Sponsor to enforce any provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.

Release and Limitations of Liability

By participating in the Contest, entrants agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsor, and each of their respective officers, directors, and employees, from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Contest or receipt or use of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto), including but not limited to: (a) any mail service errors associated with the Contest, including lost entries; and (b) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest. Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages. Entry submission constitutes the essay becoming property of PACES and excerpts may be used (with acknowledgement to the author) on the organization’s website or in print material.


Except where prohibited, each entrant agrees that any and all disputes connected with the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action.


Information collected from entrants is subject to Sponsors privacy policy.


Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students