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Call for 2021 Essay Contest Entries—$1,000 Scholarship

Operation Recognition Essay Contest Sponsored by SAFE Credit Union

Sacramento County Office of Education Operation Recognition Scholarship Program

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is now accepting submissions for an essay contest designed to honor local military veterans. The winning high school student will receive a $1,000 college scholarship, courtesy of SAFE Credit Union.

The essay contest takes place in conjunction with Operation Recognition, a program of the Sacramento County Board of Education. Since 2001, the Board has honored the contributions of local veterans who left high school to serve in the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. Qualifying veterans can receive their high school diplomas, along with qualifying Japanese American citizens forced to leave high school due to WW II internment.

500-Word Essay Contest

Contestants must be high school juniors or seniors currently attending public high schools in Sacramento County. The completed essay, along with a cover letter, must be received by April 19, 2021. To receive the scholarship, the winning entrant must attend the virtual Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 18, 2021, to read his or her essay, and join in honoring diploma recipients.


  • The 2021 theme is “Why We Must Appreciate America’s Veterans.”
  • Essays should be 400–500 words long, typed, and double-spaced. (Titles and footnotes do not contribute to the word count.)
  • A cover letter should be attached containing student name, home address, phone number, email address, name of high school, and one paragraph summarizing college and career goals.
  • A positive approach is recommended when expressing viewpoints.
  • No pictures or images should be included.

Judging Criteria

Essays will be judged on how well the student understood, developed, and presented the theme. Scores will be based equally on knowledge of the theme, structure/spelling/grammar, theme development, and clarity of ideas.

Mailing Address

Operation Recognition Scholarship Contest
SCOE Communications Office
P.O. Box 269003
Sacramento, CA 95826-9003

Entries must be received by April 19, 2021. No electronic submissions will be accepted and contestants may only enter once. For questions, email Tim Herrera, SCOE Communications Director.

Sponsored by SAFE Credit Union

SAFE Credit Union is the sponsor of the Operation Recognition Essay Contest.