The "Write to Lead" essay contest is open to students from sixth to 11th grade. Questions differ for certain grade levels.
• Grades 6 to 8: What qualities make a great leader? How could one exhibit those traits in everyday life?
• Grades 9 to 11: Looking to the future. What do you see for our country? What qualities does a leader need to take our country forward?
Craig With the Democratic National Convention coming to Denver Aug. 25 to 28, the Convention Committee is sponsoring a youth essay contest.
"Write to Lead" is meant to include Colorado's youth in a "historical" process, Convention Committee CEO Leah Daughtry said. It is only open to Colorado residents.
"Today's youth are our future," Daughtry said. "What happens at the nominating convention has a profound impact on that future. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a front-row seat at a significant event in our nation's history."
The contest asks students in sixth to 11th grade to write 300 to 500 words on leadership and the future of the United States.
Qwest Communications and Post-News Educational Services are co-sponsoring the competition.
A committee will select 54 finalists to serve as ambassadors to the state's delegation.
From the finalists, the committee will select one middle school and one high school student as presidential winners. Those students will receive a laptop, have their essays published in The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, as well as be invited to the National Convention.
Organizers still are planning what participation presidential winners will have at the convention, Daughtry said.
The Convention Committee hopes to have representation from all of Colorado's different geographical areas, Daughtry added.
Essays will be judged on writing effectiveness, spelling, grammar and critical thinking. Judges will not consider political ideology, Daughtry added.
"This contest is about democracy and the democratic process," she said. "We don't think that politics or partisan politics play a part at all."
This is the first time the Democratic Party has held a contest on this scale as part of the National Convention, Daughtry said.
"By engaging the entire state, we will have ambassadors from all over the state," she said.
For information on the contest, visit www.demconvention.com/writetolead.html.