Annual Class Projects and Contests

Heritage Academy 5th grade and middle school students are required to complete class projects several times per academic year. Heritage Academy’s annual projects and contests directly support the Academy’s focus on critical thinking, or the ability to identify issues, build relationships between disparate topics, and solve problems.

Current Class Project List

Grades 5 - 8 engage the following efforts each year. The year over year repetition builds practical experience and allows room for growth and improvement as the student advances grades at Heritage:

The DAR American History Essay Contest and Research Paper
All Heritage middle school grades participate in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) American History Essay Contest each year. This project is completed in the first semester and requires a student supported research paper. 

The American History Essay Contest is open to students in public, private, and parochial schools. Registered home-study programs also participate. The contest allows Heritage students to compete against peers outside of the Academy.

A new essay topic is announced by the DAR each year. Competing essays are judged for historical accuracy, adherence to the topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation and neatness. The essay also promotes patriotism, an important aspect of the school’s history curriculum. 

With the DAR contest, a student essay is capable of winning chapter level, state level, divisional level, and national level awards and recognition. 

Young Authors Contest
Each year Pittsylvania County Schools sponsors a Young Authors Contest to encourage writing and creative thinking. At the discretion of the teacher, Heritage students participate in poetry, short fiction and essay categories during the second semester. Heritage averages 1-3 winners per year on a regional level..

Young Authors poetry submissions focus on: a consistent point of view; presence of poetic devices (e.g. simile, metaphor); use of meter; rhyme scheme; expression; and descriptive words.

Young Authors short fiction submissions focus on: a consistent point of view; presence of intro, climax and other literary devices; elaboration; expression and descriptive words. Short fiction length is 10-5,000 words.

Young Authors essay submissions focus on an assigned topic. Students are judged on: a consistent point of view; closure; organization; elaboration; expression and descriptive words. Essays target 500 words, with a 350 word minimum and a 650 word maximum.

Modern Woodmen of America School Speech Contest
During the Second Semester, Heritage students participate in the annual Modern Woodmen of America School Speech Contest. In this contest, the Heritage student is challenged in public speaking, a valuable adult communication skill.

Students compete at the local level and may advance to further levels of competition. Modern Woodmen fully support the contest and provide judging guidelines and materials. There is award recognition at all levels, with monetary awards at the national level.

Heritage teachers are free to pursue and experiment with other projects they deem beneficial. These additional projects vary by grade level and teacher preference.