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St. Norbert College and the Green Bay Press-Gazette present
The Norman Miller Essay in Public Understanding

The Green Bay Press-Gazette and the St. Norbert College Peace and Justice Center are pleased to announce an essay contest open to high school students in Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Norman Miller Essay in Public Understanding is named for the late Norman Miller, a Green Bay business leader and longtime advocate for human rights. This essay honors his legacy by encouraging better understanding between people, both domestically and internationally. It is tied to the Norman and Louis Miller Lecture in Public Understanding at St. Norbert College, which promotes unity, communication and tolerance among different cultures, religions, ethnicities and traditions. The essay contest also encourages area youth to consider a career in journalism, providing them with an opportunity to write an opinion piece on diversity and understanding.

These two major goals — to promote interpersonal understanding and to encourage the journalistic craft — are particularly appropriate this year, as the next Miller Lecture will be delivered by Leonard Pitts Jr., the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald. Pitts has been honored for his commentary by the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, The Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and many others.

“We’re pleased to join again with St. Norbert College and the Green Bay Public School District in this observance of the importance of diversity to the future of Northeastern Wisconsin,” said John Dye, executive editor of the Press-Gazette. “Leonard Pitts Jr. has a devoted following among readers of our newspaper and we think he'll be an outstanding speaker for the Norman and Louis Miller Lectures.”

Pitts’ lecture, which will take place in the Walter Theatre at St. Norbert College on February 17, will be titled, “The Water in the Glass.” In the same vein, we invite the submission of essays on “Reason for Hope: Pathways to Understanding.”

The format will be an opinion piece, 250-300 words, around two central questions.
  • What experiences or observations give you hope that our diverse society will become more tolerant and understanding?
  • What activities or attitudes will contribute to that improved understanding?
The contest is open to high school students from Northeastern Wisconsin.

Judges will assess all submissions according to the following rubric.

CREATIVITY Lacked original thought. Offered an idea that has been used before, but put his/her own fresh approach to it. Has an interesting view of diversity and offered a solid idea for change that is realistic and practical. Articulated an innovative idea that his/her community might want to try.
MECHANICS There were mechanical errors in the work that detracted from the meaning or impact of the work as a whole. The piece was well written. Any error in the mechanics did not affect the impact of the piece. The piece was well written. While there were no mechanical errors, the work did not contain complex structures or language. The piece demonstrated strength in the use of structure, grammar, and the rules of language.
REASONING Logic was hard to follow. Had one or two strong elements but failed to carry through the theme throughout the entire piece. Made good points, but was not persuasive enough in explaining why we should celebrate diversity. Made clear points, had a strong theme that flowed from beginning to end, and evoked a sense of urgency.
FOCUS The piece was unfocused and not about celebrating diversity. While some good points were raised, the piece did not articulate how he/she would promote tolerance and understanding, and overall laced imagination. Demonstrated knowledge of diversity and the role it plays in his/her community, but lacked passion despite being a good effort.
Wrote with passion and demonstrated a clear understanding of what diversity means to him/her, while articulating need for positive change.

  • Creativity: Does the author take a creative approach or perspective regarding diversity and community change?
  • Mechanics: Does the author follow the standard rules of structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
  • Reasoning: Are the theme and argument of the article well reasoned and logical? Does the argument have a logical foundation that leads to a well-considered conclusion?
  • Focus: Does the article focus on the issue of diversity and positive change? Does it provide opportunity to celebrate diversity on some level?
Assessment of the articles will take place through a two-step process. Volunteer judges will conduct initial screening of entries to determine finalists. A panel of Press-Gazette judges will then determine the winners of the competition.

The following awards will be presented by Leonard Pitts Jr. at a dinner preceding his lecture Feb. 17 at St. Norbert College:
  1. First Place: a $2,000 scholarship to St. Norbert College and an iPad (iPad provided by the Gannett Co.)
  2. Second Place: a $1,000 scholarship to St. Norbert College and a camcorder.
  3. Third Place: a $1,000 scholarship to St. Norbert College and a camcorder.
Deadline is January, 20, 2011.

Please send entries and inquiries to:
Mr. Darryl Buck
District Diversity Liaison Green Bay Area Public School District
200 South Broadway
Green Bay, WI 54303

Phone: 920-272-7034 Fax: 920-448-2235

Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice & Public Understanding

Phone: (920) 403-3881
Fax: (920) 403-4088

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181