For the last ten years, Foster LLP has been a proud local host of the American Immigration Council’s annual Celebrate America Creative Writing Contest. Each year, contestants from 5th grade classes around the country are asked to submit essays on the theme “Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.” After contacting local schools to arrange the participation of teachers, attorneys and legal assistants from Foster visited local schools and explained the history and context of U.S. immigration. After coordinating the submission of essays from local elementary schools, Foster’s Austin, Texas office perform the preliminary round of judging, selecting the top three essays to progress in the contest. These three essays are then sent to a group of local “celebrity” judges, including the Travis County Judge, Sheriff and a retired military officer, who determine the first, second, and third place winners for the local area contest.

The first place entry from the local area contest is sent to compete in the regional contest against first place submissions from elementary schools around Texas. The first place entry from the regional contest moves on to the national level Celebrate America Creating Writing Contest. The overall winner is invited to attend the American Immigration Council’s Annual Benefit Dinner and receives a prize package.

The Celebrate America Creating Writing Contest is a wonderful opportunity for children to explore the rich history of immigration in the United States. While participants draw inspiration from a number of sources, including historical accounts of journeys to Ellis Island, popular culture, and their own family history, their essays clearly illustrate the enormous impact that immigration has had, and continues to have, on American culture.