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CTA César E. Chávez Memorial Education Awards Program

The César E. Chávez Memorial Education Awards Program will provide recognition for students and their teachers who demonstrate an understanding of the vision and guiding principles by which César E. Chávez lived his life. The Awards Program honors the memory of this great man and ensures that the spirit of his work continues in the classrooms of California.

For the current school year, eligible projects must fit into the catergory of either Written Essays or Visual Arts.

General Awards Criteria

Awards must focus on one or more of the following and show which principles of César Chávez’s legacy affect your life:

  • Principles of non-violence
  • Self determination through unionization (forming and joining unions)
  • Social justice for farm workers
  • Safe food / health / environmental issues
  • Human and civil rights issues
  • Teamwork, cooperation, collaboration, service to others Empowerment of the disenfranchised
  • Innovation and education


One student, in conjunction with a CTA member who must be employed at the same school or campus where the student, is enrolled (Individual Projects). Grade level categories include:

  • Pre-K (artwork only) - Kindergarten
  • First - Second grade 
  • Third - Fourth grade
  • Fifth - Sixth grade
  • Seventh - Eighth grade
  • Ninth – Twelfth grade
  • Higher Education (Undergraduates only)

A group project of no more than three (3) students, in conjunction with a CTA member who must be employed at the same school or campus where the students are enrolled (Group Projects).

Category 1: Written Essays– NO BIOGRAPHIES
  • Length of essay (Print & submit word count verification) 
 K-2   Age appropriate composition 
 3-4    200 - 300 words 
 5-8   400 - 600 words
 9-12   800-1100 words
 Higher Education 
 1000 to 1500 words
  • Format of essay
    A. Double-spaced, 1 inch margins, pages numbered
    ▪ K-2: Legibly handwritten or typed (12 pt. Font Times New Roman).
    ▪ 3-Higher Education: Must be typed (12 pt. Font Times New Roman); otherwise a letter explaining circumstances must be included from the submitting CTA member.
    ▪ The higher education rubric contains the same criteria as the 9-12 rubric. However, higher education entry must cite resources using footnotes or a bibliography.
    B. Staple
    C. Do not put essay into folder or binder
    D. Written Essays - NO BIOGRAPHIES

Category 2: VISUAL ARTS
(Paintings, Drawings, Collages, Posters, Original Technologically Generated Art)

  • Size of art entry: 8½” x 11” to 18” x 24”
  • Two dimensional art projects only.
  • Media (mixed media accepted)
    Drawings (Pastel; Pencil; Ink; Charcoal)
    Paintings (Oil, Watercolor; Acrylic; Airbrush; Tempera)
    Posters (Block Printing; Silk Screens)
    Original Technologically Generated Art
  • Provide student’s typed or written explanation as to how the artwork addresses the Awards Criteria. Pre-K-2 students may have their responses transcribed by an adult.
  • Artwork must be clearly labeled on the back with the applicant’s name, CTA sponsor’s name, grade, and school. The sponsor must be employed at the same school or campus where the student is enrolled.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

© 1999- California Teachers Association