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Contest Rules

What you are expected to do:

…a city job. The list of municipal jobs can be found at You can read a detailed job description if you click on the job code on the left column.

…Look online, read news articles, press releases, follow city social media to get ideas of current issues. In addition: We encourage students to interview one or more city employees working in the jobs they chose to write about.

…a 500-word essay about how you would strengthen the city if you were a city employee. Be sure to provide specific suggestions how you would improve or create city programs. 

Hurricane Harvey revealed the strength, character and resiliency of Houstonians. Together, we proved that we are #HoustonStrong. Thousands of City of Houston employees continue to work behind the scenes to help Houstonians recover and mitigate the effects of future storms. Essay contest participants are asked to choose a city career and write 500 words about how they would strengthen the city if they were a city employee. Essays do not need to specifically address storm recovery. We welcome essays that explore all city careers and what employees can do to make #HoustonStrong in innovative ways. Contestants must write about a specific city career.

…essays online by midnight March 19, 2018. Complete the online entry form and attach your essay. 


Essays should be composed by a senior from a Houston-area high school (public or private). They should be organized in the following manner: Thesis statement, arguments and conclusion.

Essays must be:

  • 500 words or less
  • Typed
  • Double-spaced

Selection criteria
Winning essays will be selected on the basis of the following:

  • Organization and accurate presentation
  • Creativity
  • Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Demonstrate evidence of research. 

Awards Sponsored by Cigna

  • First Place: $2,000
  • Second Place: $1,200
  • Third Place: $800
  • Honorable Mention: $500
  • Honorable Mention: $500

Scholarships are sponsored by Cigna Health Insurance

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:41
Contact the Essay Coordinator

If you have questions or comments please contact the
PSRW Coordinator for further details.

Submit your essay

We are accepting submissions at this time.
Submissions due March 19, 2018.