SKOKIE, Ill., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With its "America the Beautiful" student essay contest underway, Rand McNally today unveiled details about the once-in-a-lifetime trips to Washington, D.C. that ten finalists and their parent/guardian have the opportunity to win. The trips are being organized and provided by WorldStrides, the nation's largest educational travel organization.
"America the Beautiful," a short essay contest announced by Rand McNally and USA TODAY, asks students to write about the one place in the U.S. that truly inspires them. The program weaves together social studies with writing and literacy – and gets kids feeling good about their country. Prizes include all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C., NOOK Tablets™, and two $10,000 college scholarships.
The ten finalists, whose essays are selected, will be invited to Washington, D.C. for an exclusive WorldStrides DiscoverNow! program. Finalists will spend three days and two nights exploring the nation's capital with the guidance of a WorldStrides-certified Course Leader. Highlights of the experience will include:
- Witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns;
- Reciting Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial;
- Seeing the government in action through a visit to the U.S. Capitol Building; and
- Attending an official ceremony at the Air Force Memorial where two Grand Prize winners of the contest will be announced.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity for students to win significant prizes and engage around a topic that everyone can identify with," said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally. "The trips that WorldStrides is organizing and providing are once-in-a-lifetime experiences to see Washington, D.C. up close."
"America the Beautiful" is open to 7th through 12th graders and its details can be found on a dedicated micro site at bestoftheroad.com/education. In addition to contest guidelines, the site also features lesson plans for educators, activity guides to assist student writers, and correlations to the Common Core State Standards. Teachers whose classrooms participate in the program have the opportunity to win $5,000 worth of products for their schools.
"We are thrilled to sponsor 'America the Beautiful' and to promote the need to keep social studies as a core curriculum component at the middle school and high school levels," said WorldStrides CEO Jim Hall. "The 'America the Beautiful' essay contest and the ideals of raising American educational standards align perfectly with WorldStrides' mission of enriching students' lives through experiential travel, and we are proud to further support the education of our nation's young people as a sponsor of this important initiative."
Besides coordinating the trips for the ten essay finalists, WorldStrides has announced two special offers for teachers who register to have their students participate in the "America the Beautiful" contest with their classrooms. Teachers who are new to WorldStrides and lead a qualifying WorldStrides program with at least 15 students in 2012-2013 will receive a complimentary trip from WorldStrides. Additionally, the teacher will be able to select one deserving student who will receive a $250 scholarship toward the cost of their trip. WorldStrides has agreed to provide up to $500,000 in student scholarships under this promotion in order to promote teachers' registering for the "America the Beautiful" essay contest. Complete offer details and terms and conditions are available at worldstrides.org/americathebeautiful.
In addition to WorldStrides, Barnes & Noble is a primary sponsor of the contest. Student winners will get an award-winning Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet and have their essays published in an "America the Beautiful" eBook available exclusively on NOOK.com.
More detailed information and complete contest rules are available at bestoftheroad.com/education.
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) WHO ARE STUDENTS 13 – 20 YEARS OF AGE ENROLLED IN GRADES 7-12 OR A TEACHER OF GRADES 7-12 AND 21 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Enter Contest by 5/14/12. For Official Rules and prize descriptions, visit www.bestoftheroad.com/education. Sponsor: RM Acquisition, LLC d/b/a Rand McNally, 9855 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077.
About Rand McNally – Rand McNally is the most trusted source for maps, directions, and travel content. Rand McNally's products and services include: Road travel community bestoftheroad.com; Interactive travel referral service, tripology.com; America's #1 Road Atlas; TripMaker® RVND™ GPS for RVers; IntelliRoute® truck routing software and navigation devices; TruckPC and the TND™ 760 Fleet Edition mobile communication solutions for the transportation industry; and the leading geography-based educational resources for the classroom. Consumers, businesses, truckers, and educators depend upon Rand McNally to help navigate today's world. randmcnally.com
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WorldStrides is the nation's largest and most trusted student travel organization, having inspired more than four million students with interactive and educational travel experiences across the United States and worldwide. Founded 45 years ago by a Chicago school teacher, WorldStrides has grown to a team of more than 450 professionals in the United States and the UK dedicated to delivering life-changing experiences and improving the way students learn. WorldStrides' group travel offerings fall under four major brands: WorldStrides DiscoverNow! programs, WorldStrides Heritage Performance programs, WorldStrides Capstone programs, and Casterbridge Tours. In addition, WorldStrides introduced its New Worlds Emerge programs for individual travelers at the high school level in 2012.
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SOURCE Rand McNally