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Sponsored by the American Friends of Lafayette

to our Contest Winners listed below! 

Who is Lafayette, and What Does He Mean to America, Then and Now?
2024 Lafayette Essay Contest.png

The 2024 Lafayette Essay at a Glance

Why an essay about Lafayette?

To educate America’s children on the person and contribution of the Marquis de Lafayette to American Independence; to endear the next generation to America’s first friend and ally of France to understand Lafayette’s legacy; to help children understand his impact on their lives today; to promote the 2024-2025 Bicentennial of Lafayette’s Farewell Tour by generating excitement from children; to inform young people and their families about the American Friends of Lafayette. 

Who can enter?

Fourth and Fifth Graders

When is the contest?

The contest application deadline has been extended to February 15, 2024. The deadline for essay submissions is March 18, 2024. Winners will be announced in June 2024.

What do the winners receive?

  • Winners are: 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, Honorable Mention and International Honorable Mention.

  • All entrants receive an AFL award package including a digital certificate of achievement, a 2024-2025 Junior AFL Membership card, and all AFL membership news and event emails for 2024-2025.

  • Contest winners will receive cash awards: 1st Place: $1,000, 2nd Place: $500, 3rd Place: $250, Honorable Mention: $50.

  • All contest winners will receive a printed certificate and an AFL gift package to include bicentennial merchandise and a collection of Lafayette books.

  • Contest winners will be invited to attend (at their own expense) the August 16, 2024 AFL Meeting in New York to be recognized and to read their essays. 

What is the essay supposed to look like?

The essay will be comprised of five paragraphs using the following rubric. For the full details of each paragraph, click here.

2024 Lafayette Essay Rubric Overview .jpg

How do I enter?

Interested? Take a moment to read the full details of the contest before completing the entry form below. Click here for full contest details including terms of entry, winning criteria and the full essay rubric.

 2024 Lafayette Essay Contest Entry Form

To make sure that your contest application is valid, please follow the rules listed below:
●    Only one essay entry per student.
●    Essay must be the student's own work.
●    Essay must be in stated format (use the rubric).
●    Essay must be typed and emailed to by March 18, 2024 with the subject headline: SUBMISSION FOR THE 2024 LAFAYETTE ESSAY CONTEST. 
●    You will create a unique Essay Entry Code that you must include on your Essay Submission.
●    Only US entrants win 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention; Foreign entrants will receive an International Honorable Mention.
●    Free to enter. When you hit "submit" you will receive a pop-up box confirmation of your entry.
If you are unsure of any rules or have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us at either or

Congratulations on Entering the Essay Contest!
Now let's get started!

Take some notes on these helpful ideas for your essay:

“Who is Lafayette, and What Does He Mean to America, Then and Now?”

  • You will write 5 paragraphs that include an introduction paragraph, a short biography paragraph of the Marquis de Lafayette, a paragraph of what General Lafayette accomplished in the American Revolution, a paragraph about what you think Lafayette’s impact for Americans is today and a conclusion paragraph.

  • The rubric gives exact details on the expectations of your essay paragraph-by-paragraph.  Follow the rubric for organization of your essay, length of paragraphs, mechanics, citing, font size, etc.  Stay within the guided rubric.

  • Research, research, research! Use the books and links below for excellent resources to learn about Lafayette.

  • Participate in an informational Zoom meeting with Lafayette himself in February (details coming)! You'll get to ask questions, so do your research beforehand so you are prepared.

Tips for Making Your Writing Stand Out
●    Follow all directions
●    Take notes from at least 3 different sources
●    Organize your facts and your own thoughts 
●    Write a rough draft 
●    Review to make sure your work is comprehensive and original 


How to Cite Your Sources 
Citing tells your reader where you found your information.  Citing gives credit to the people whose words or ideas you are using.

In your text for a book:  Parenthesis around authors’ last names, title, comma and the year published.     
Example:  (Castrovilla, Revolutionary Friends, 2013)

In your text for a website: Parenthesis around name of authors’ last names, comma and title, comma and date published, comma and URL.
Example: Becica, The Lafayette Family Legacy, 11/2019,


In your bibliography for a book:
Author’s last name, first name period Title of book period Date published
Example: Castrovilla, Selene. Revolutionary Friends. 2013

In your bibliography for a website:
Author’s last name, First name period title period date period URL
Example: Becica, John.  The Lafayette Legacy. 11/2019.    


Types of ‘Hooks’

Grab your readers’ attention with a sensational or interesting hook in the introduction.  A hook is a sentence or group of sentences that draw people into reading your essay. Make sure your hook relates well to the essay.
●    Interesting Question Hook
●    Strong Statement/Declaration Hook
●    Fact/Statistic Hook
●    Metaphor/ Simile Hook
●    Story Hook
●    Description Hook
●    Quotation Hook


Resources for Researching Lafayette
This is by no means a complete list, but will help you to get started on your research. Have fun discovering about "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman!"

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