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Contests and Awards

The DAR is dedicated to educating America’s youth and supports a variety of different programs, contests, and awards to help further this goal. Most California DAR chapters offer the following:

American History Essay Contest

The American History Essay Contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation's great history and to learn about history in a new light.

This contest is open to students in public, private, and parochial schools, and registered home-study programs. Students in grades five through eight are encouraged to participate. Each year a topic is announced, and contest instructions are published online and sent to schools by participating DAR chapters. Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness. Students compete for awards and medals at the chapter, state, and national levels. The medal shown below is presented to winners at the chapter level.


Outstanding Work in American History or American History Essay Contest

Chapter winners may earn this 3/4" bronze medal with figure of the American eagle and "Excellence in History DAR Award" surrounding the central image.

Christopher Columbus Essay Contest

DAR partnered with the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in 1996 to sponsor an annual national essay contest in honor of Christopher Columbus.

The contest is open to students in grades nine through twelve. Each year the DAR and the NIAF agree upon a topic, and contest instructions are published online and sent to the schools by participating DAR chapters.

Essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness. Judging at the national level is supervised by the NIAF.

DAR Good Citizens

The DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest encourages and rewards the qualities of good citizenship. The program is open to all senior high students enrolled in accredited public or private secondary schools that are in good standing with their state boards of education. United States citizenship is not required.

The student selected as the school’s DAR Good Citizen must have the following qualities:

  • Dependability (which includes truthfulness, loyalty, and punctuality)
  • Service (which includes cooperation, courtesy, and consideration of others)
  • Leadership (which includes personality, self-control, and ability to assume responsibility) and
  • Patriotism (which includes unselfish interest in family, school, community, and nation) to an outstanding degree.

The student will be awarded the DAR Good Citizens pin.



DAR Youth Citizenship Medal

DAR Youth Citizenship Medals are presented to students in grades 5 through 11 (one medal per grade per school) who exhibit the qualities of honor, service, courage, leadership, and patriotism. The medal may also be awarded to youth service and patriotic organizations, such as scouts and police cadets.


Gold, silver, and bronze ROTC medals are presented to outstanding high school and college cadets. Recipients are selected by professors of military science, heads of Sea Cadet Units, principals of high schools, and ROTC instructors in colleges and universities.

Recipients of each award must meet the following criteria:

  • Be in the upper 25% of their classes in ROTC/JROTC and academic classes.

  • Demonstrate qualities of dependability and good character, adherence to military discipline, leadership ability, and a fundamental and patriotic understanding of the importance of ROTC/JROTC training.


ROTC Bronze Medal

The NSDAR Bronze ROTC Medal is awarded to a student in a secondary school JROTC program (junior or senior) or a junior college graduating senior.


ROTC Silver Outstanding Cadet Medal

The Silver Outstanding Cadet Medal is awarded to a student for participation in a non-ROTC, military-affiliated cadet program funded by the school or privately, including but not limited to Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Civil Air Patrol Cadet Corps, National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC), United States Army Cadet Corps, Young Marines, California Wing Cadet Corps, Navy League Cadet Corps, Army Cadets of America, and United States Army Cadet Corps (one medal per year per cadet unit.) Medals are worn in accordance with the cadet program protocol.


ROTC Gold Medal

The Gold ROTC Medal is awarded to a college or university graduate being commissioned in one of the U.S. Armed Services (one medal per ROTC unit per service). Medals are worn according to ROTC protocol.