Go to Top

Citizenship Challenge Pittsburgh


Our Pittsburgh-based annual essay contest where students tackle tough civics issues facing our democracy

The 2019 Pittsburgh Citizenship Challenge Question

The Founding Fathers are considered to be brilliant in relation to the government they created. Which part of the Bill of Rights, do you think is the most important and continues to exert the greatest impact on Americans today?

Finals: December 17, 2019 Heinz History Center 10:00am

The 2019 Pittsburgh Citizenship Challenge Finalists

  • Ms. Kahler’s 4th grade class from Central Elementary School, Hampton Township School District
  • Ms. Robertson’s 5th grade class from Edgeworth Elementary, Quaker Valley School District
  • Ms. Yu’s 5th grade class from The Environmental Charter School – Intermediate, Pittsburgh
  • Mr. Voland’s 4th grade class from Marshall Elementary School, North Allegheny School District
  • Mr.  Franks 5th grade class from McKnight Elementary School, North Allegheny School District
  • Ms. Ziegler and Ms. Hagerty’s 5th grade class from Moore Elementary School, Brentwood Borough School District
  • Ms. Smith’s 4th grade class from Mt. Lebanon School District
  • Mr. Newcombe’s 4th grade class from West Liberty Prek-5 Pittsburgh Public Schools

The Challenge was open to 4th and 5th grade classes in public, private, or parochial schools in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

Contact: Email Beth Specker for more information – bspecker@rendellcenter.org or bethspecker@gmail.com

View Official Rules and Entry Information (PDF)

Classroom teams are asked to write an essay that addresses their point of view on the assigned issue. Teams take one position and defend their argument in a concise written document of a minimum of 300 words. The contest is drawn from PA Civics standards relating to principles and documents of government; rights and responsibilities of citizens; and information on how government works.

From all entries submitted eight finalists are selected and invited to make a final presentation of their essay at the Senator John Heinz History Center. All expenses are paid by The Rendell Center

Annual Prizes

  • 1 GRAND PRIZE of $1,000: The first place school will receive a check to be used toward a program that promotes civics learning and engagement across the student body.
  • 3 RUNNER-UP PRIZES of $500: Each of the three runner-up schools will receive a check to be used toward a program that promotes civics learning and engagement across the student body.
  • TOP ENTRIES: The top 8 finalist schools will receive classroom copies of the Literature-Based Mock Trial curriculum as well as a civics library for their school.
young female students answer judge's questions

Students answer a judge’s questions about what they learned from doing research for their essay

students act out their essay in a class skit

Finalists’ essays use acting, music, poetry, rap, and media to express their views