Contests and Awards

American History Essay Contest

The American History Essay Contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation's great history and to learn about history in a new light.

This contest is open to students in public, private, and parochial schools, and registered home-study programs. Students in grades five through eight are encouraged to participate. Each year a topic is announced, and contest instructions are published online and sent to schools by participating DAR chapters. Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness.

Christopher Columbus Essay Contest

DAR partnered with the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in 1996 to sponsor an annual national essay contest in honor of Christopher Columbus.

The contest is open to students in grades nine through twelve. Each year the DAR and the NIAF agree upon a topic, and contest instructions are published online and sent to the schools by participating DAR chapters.

Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness. Judging at the national level is supervised by the NIAF.

DAR Good Citizens

The DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest encourages and rewards the qualities of good citizenship. The program is open to all senior class students enrolled in accredited public or private secondary schools that are in good standing with their state boards of education. United States citizenship is not required.

The student selected as the school’s DAR Good Citizen must have the following qualities:

    • Dependability (which includes truthfulness, loyalty, and punctuality)

    • Service (which includes cooperation, courtesy, and consideration of others)

    • Leadership (which includes personality, self-control, and ability to assume responsibility)

  • Patriotism (which includes unselfish interest in family, school, community, and nation) to an outstanding degree

The student will be awarded the DAR Good Citizens pin.

Community Service Awards 

This award recognizes worthy individuals in their communities for outstanding unpaid voluntary achievements in cultural, educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical, citizenship, or environmental conservation endeavors. The chapter may present two (2) awards per calendar year.

      • The recipient must have contributed to the community in an outstanding manner through voluntary heroic, civic, benevolent service, or by organizing or participating in community activities.
      • The achievement must have taken place within the past five (5) years with no compensation.
      • Members of NSDAR are eligible for this award if the service is unrelated to their DAR activities.
      • The award may not be presented to a recipient more than one time and may not be initiated or approved posthumously. Awards that have been approved may be presented posthumously.
      • A nominee may not receive more than one NSDAR award for the same accomplishments.
        Community Service Awards are chapter or state awards of recognition. They are not contests. There is no competitive judging on any level.

 ROTC/JROTC Awards

Gold and bronze ROTC medals are presented to outstanding high school and college cadets.

    • The NSDAR Gold ROTC Medal is awarded to a college or university graduate being commissioned in the U.S. Armed Forces.
    • The NSDAR Bronze ROTC Medal is awarded to a student in a secondary school JROTC program (junior or senior), a junior college graduating senior, or a graduating senior of a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Unit.