Frequently Asked Questions

What is America250?
  • America250 is a nonpartisan initiative working to engage every American in commemorating the 250th anniversary of our country. It is spearheaded by the congressionally-appointed U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission and its nonprofit supporting organization,
  • This multi-year effort kicked off with America’s Invitation on July 4, 2023: a national public engagement campaign inviting all Americans to share their stories and their hopes and dreams for the future of this country.
  • Building up to July 4, 2026, America250 is working to provide opportunities for all Americans to pause and reflect on our nation’s past, honor the contributions of all Americans, and look to the future we want to create for the next generation and beyond.
What is America’s Field Trip?
  • America’s Field Trip is a nationwide scholastic contest designed to actively engage America’s youth in commemorating the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • America’s Field Trip is an opportunity for young people to get involved and ensure that their voices are heard. The goal is to empower young minds to reflect on our past and express their visions for the future.
  • Elementary, middle, and high school students are invited to submit artwork, videos, or essays on topics relating to American history, civics, and culture.
  • First-place awardees will be provided unique “field trips” visiting iconic historical and cultural sites across the country, where they can participate in unforgettable tours
Why is America250 focusing on students?
  • We believe passionately that commemorating the historic milestone of America’s 250th anniversary is not just about looking back, but about looking forward.
  • Today’s young people are our future. They are the leaders, innovators, and thinkers who will guide America for the next 250 years – and it’s important they are at the heart of this endeavor.
When is America’s Field Trip happening?
  • America250 formally launched the pilot program of America’s Field Trip with our federal, corporate, and nonprofit partners on March 4.
  • Submissions will be accepted from March 4, 2024, until May 17, 2024.
  • Award recipients will be announced in early summer, and field trips for award recipients will start in mid-July 2024.
How can students take part in America’s Field Trip?
  • America250 is committed to ensuring as many students as possible have the opportunity to get involved in this competition.
  • Whether through a class, extracurricular group, or during homeschooling, students who want to participate will need the help of a teacher or parent/guardian to submit an entry, along with the approval of a parent or guardian to participate.
  • Students will enter the competition by answering the prompt “What does America mean to you?”
  • There will be different submission formats for students in each age group:
    • Elementary school (3rd to 5th grade) will submit artwork or a short essay (up to 100 works)
    • Middle school (6th to 8th grade) will submit artwork or short videos (up to two minutes), and
    • High school (9th to 12th grade) will submit essays (up to 1,000 words) or short videos (up to two minutes)
What are the submission guidelines?
  • Submission guidelines differ by age group.
  • Elementary School (3rd to 5th Grade): Students are asked to create artwork or short essay (up to 100 words). This could include physical artwork that is submitted through a high-res photo or a digital drawing.
  • Middle School (6th to 8th Grade): Students are asked to submit artwork or a short video (up to 2 minutes).
  • High School (9th to 12th Grade): Students are asked to submit a written essay (up to 1,000 words) or a video (up to two minutes).
How will submissions be judged?
  • America250 is working with an experienced, third-party contest administrator who will judge submissions before they are reviewed by a diverse panel of current and former teachers:America’s Field Trip Educators.
  • America’s Field Trip Educators will judge the submissions based on the following weighted criteria:
    • CLARITY OF IDEA [25%]: How well does the Entrant use both their personal and academic experiences to clearly address the Question? Does the Entry effectively convey ideas, emotion or a story visually or with words by acknowledging the past or celebrating America’s achievements and possibilities for the future? Does the response offer fresh insight and innovative thinking?
    • STUDENT VOICE [50%]: Is there passion in the Entry or a point-of-view that showcases a unique perspective on the diverse range of different experiences that make America unique in an original/authentic way?
    • PRESENTATION [25%]: What makes the submission content more compelling, fresh or interesting than other Entrants’ content in their grade level category?
How is America’s Field Trip funded?
  • America250 is funding the program implementation — including field trip costs and cash awards — in collaboration with BNY Mellon, the 240-year-old global financial services company that played a pivotal role in the development, growth, and rise of the United States.
  • America250 and its partners will cover the cost of the field trip for each award recipient and their designated chaperone.
Can students bring their families on their Field Trips?

Students are required to have one chaperone, which must be a parent or a legal guardian.

What will students participating in America’s Field Trip receive?
  • First-place awardees will receive field trip experiences at select historical, educational, and cultural sites across the country. Second-place recipients will receive a $500 cash award.
  • Field trip experiences include tours at iconic landmarks like Yellowstone National Park historic sites such as the Library of Congress.
  • These experiences are designed to go beyond textbooks, offering students hands-on encounters with some of America’s most important landmarks, financial institutions, historical sites, and cultural treasures.
  • By witnessing firsthand the places that have shaped the nation, students may forge a deeper connection to their history, culture, and the collective American experience.
How will trips be selected and who will be chaperoning the trips?
  • Trips will be organized by America250 and chaperoned by the recipient’s parent or guardian along with other field trip recipients.
  • First-place awardees will get to express their preference for trips, and final locations will be determined by age group, availability, and recipient preference.
Will America’s Field Trip programming continue after 2024?

Yes, this year is a pilot program that America250 hopes to grow and expand, including with more field trips and award recipients in 2025 and 2026.

Who created the curriculum?

America250 partnered withDiscovery Education, the worldwide edtech leader, to develop custom educational programming that helps students deepen their understanding of America’s 250th anniversary and encourages participation in the America’s Field Trip contest with ready-to-use resources and activities for teachers.

Is America250 worried about running a civic engagement campaign during the politically polarizing debates surrounding public education and other challenges in our nation’s classrooms?
  • The mission of America250 is to create the largest and most inclusive commemoration in our nation’s history — a commemoration that includes all Americans.
  • Today’s young people are our future. They are the leaders, innovators, and thinkers who will guide America for the next 250 years — and it’s important they are at the heart of this endeavor.
  • America250 has worked closely with educators across the country to design this contest in a way that is appealing to and inclusive of all young Americans.
  • We know that the submission prompts will mean different things to different people — and we encourage that. Our focus is on sharing the diverse experiences of all Americans, and believe America’s Field Trip affords us the opportunity to showcase what makes our country and our communities unique.
Which students can participate in America’s Field Trip?

The contest is open to all students in grades 3–12 that live in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. territories. All students whether homeschooled or enrolled in public, private, independent, charter schools are eligible to participate in America’s Field Trip.