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SUBMIT BY: JUNE 15, 2024

USS Massachusetts Historic Essay Contest

The USS MASSACHUSETTS is scheduled for commissioning in 2025. As part of this event, the Commissioning Committee invites middle and high school students within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in a essay contest. Twelve winners will be awarded, invited to the commissioning ceremony in Boston, MA, have their essays framed and permanently installed within the submarine and will be invited to the post reception ceremony.

Follow rules and guidelines and submit your essay before 15 June 2024

Rules & Requirements


Students will submit to one of four categories as follows:

  • High School Level – Historical Entry

  • High School Level – Original Entry

  • Middle School Level – Historical Entry

  • Middle School Level – Original Entry

Categories for each entry are defined as such:

Original Entry: entries that are based in history, but have an additional creative component, such as a historical fiction, a poem, lyrics, etc.

Historical Entry: entries that are analytic, narrative-analytic, or microhistorical essays that make a clear historical argument.


Essays should be based on primary sources and draw on recent secondary scholarship

High School: minimum of 3 primary and 2 secondary sources

Middle School: minimum of 2 primary and 1 secondary source

Word Count

This does not include footnotes and bibliography

High School: 1,000-1,500 words

Middle School: 750-1,000 words


Essay submissions are to be written following either the Chicago Style of formatting or the MLA Style of formatting.  Once your essay is complete, please convert it to either Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF before uploading to the submission site.

Essay Rubric

Content (70%)

  • Originality (thoughtful original choice, not widely known) - 25%

  • Historic (topic is significant to both Commonwealth and US Navy)- 25%

  • Supporting Evidence (well researched, convincing arguments, critical analysis) - 10%

  • Source Material (bibliography, includes primary source material) - 10%

Presentation (30%)

  • Quality of writing (style, flow, clarity, vocabulary) - 10%

  • Organization (structure, paragraphing, introduction and conclusion) - 10%

  • Conventions (syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation) - 10%

Your Prompt

Research and write an essay on one event in history or aspect of the role of Massachusetts in the development of the United States Navy. The essay could center on an individual, an event or moment, a specific ship, a policy, or a place at a particular historical time.

Rules To Submit

All essays must be submitted to the Essay Submission Site no later than June 15, 2024 (midnight Eastern Time).

New users to the submission site should click on Create Account. You will be prompted through the sign-up wizard to create an account. Once you have established an account, you will be able to create a submission and upload your essay.  Please answer all questions on the submission form.  

Technical Help with the submission site should be directed to Kathleen Ballos at

NOTE: Students under the age of 14 years MUST have a parent or guardian register their account on the Submission Site.  The parent or guardian will use their email address when registering for the account, but will have an opportunity to add the student’s name and email information to the submission.


All twelve winners will be awarded plaques with the winners’ name, school and town. Duplicate plaques will be installed on doorways onboard the USS Mass. All winning essays will also be published in the USS Mass Commissioning Book with recognition to the winners. All winners will be invited to the post reception ceremony.
One grand prize winner and their family will be invited to the Commissioning Gala. ​

Middle School Submissions

  • Original (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners)

  • Historic (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners

High School Submissions

  • Original (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners)

  • Historic (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners)

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