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National Civics Bee

Empowering youth to harness the power of their voices and be involved citizens

An annual civics competition for Maryland middle schoolers

Each year, the Maryland Chamber Foundation proudly partners with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s The Civic Trust and local and regional chambers of commerce across Maryland to host the annual National Civics Bee statewide competition for Maryland. The competition provides opportunities for young Americans to engage in civics, learn about our country's history and government, and propose solutions to community issues, all while having chances to earn recognition and cash prizes for their contributions.

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With your support, we can empower even more of Maryland's students to be informed, passionate citizens who are invested in strengthening their communities. Explore sponsorship opportunities and help us engage and educate Maryland youth.

How the competition works

Local chambers chosen to be partners in the National Civics Bee host a local civics bee competition that takes part in several phases:

  • Local Essay Round — Students enter the local Bee of their choosing by submitting a 500-word essay regarding a problem facing their community — and ideas for helping to solve it. Entries will be accepted directly by each local chamber from Nov. 13, 2023-Feb. 19, 2024.
  • Local Civics Bee Competitions — Local chambers will judge each essay and select twenty local finalists to compete live in a local Civics Bee Competition, which will determine the First, Second, and Third Place Winners of the local competition. The local Civics Bee Competition is a 90-minute, in-person event featuring two rounds of civics questions followed by a Q&A round with approximately three judges. Local Bees will be held from Feb. 20—April 30, 2024.
  • State Civics Bee Competition — The top three winners from each local competition will advance to compete live in the Maryland Civics Bee Competition hosted by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The state finalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the First Place Winner of the State Competition. There will also be a Second Place Winner and Third Place Winner.
  • National Championship — The National Championship for the 2024 National Civics Bee will take place in the Fall of 2024 in Washington, D.C.

Who is eligible

A Maryland student registered in grades 6, 7 or 8 at any public, private or home school institution at the time of entry is eligible for participation.

How to enter

  • To enter, students should select one of the local chamber competitions in Maryland and follow the steps, rules and guidelines provided by the chamber to submit your entry. Please note: Students can only apply to one local chamber competition.

LOCAL COMPETITIONS

Submit your essay to a local competition

The following Chambers of Commerce are participating in the 2024 National Civics Bee:

Use the links above to find more information about each local bee and to submit your entry. Please note: Students may enter only one local chamber competition, which must be in their state of residence.

Read official rules for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's National Civics Bee Contest

PRIZES

Earn recognition and cash prizes

Finalists participating in each local bee as well as in the state competition for Maryland will be eligible for recognition and cash prizes.

Local Civics Bee Competition Prizes: 

Each local finalist will receive a participation certificate. There will be one third place winner receiving a trophy and $125, one second place winner receiving a trophy and $250, and one first place winner receiving a trophy and $500.

Statewide Civics Bee Competition Prizes:

Each state finalist will receive a participation certificate. There will be one third place winner receiving a trophy and $500, one second place winner receiving a trophy and $750, and one first place winner receiving a trophy and $1,000.

National Competition Prizes: 

Each national finalist will receive a participation certificate. There will be one third place winner receiving a trophy and at least $5,000, one second place winner receiving a trophy and at least $7,500, and one first place winner receiving a trophy and at least $10,000.

2024 STATEWIDE COMPETITION

Top finalists from each local bee

The top three finalists from each of Maryland's locally-hosted National Civics Bee competitions will be invited to the statewide competition for Maryland, tentatively scheduled for June 2024.

Maryland's top finalist will be eligible to compete at the national competition, taking place in Washington D.C.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CIVICS

A healthy democracy relies upon well informed citizens

A close up of a middle school student who was a finalist in the 2023 National Civics Bee for Maryland standing in front of a backdrop with the National Civics Bee, U.S. Chamber Foundation, Civic Trust and Maryland Chamber Foundation logos and holding a sign with her name on it.

We are hosting the Civics Bee because we recognize that a healthy democracy relies on citizens who are well informed about their history, government and public issues and who are motivated to engage constructively in shaping the vibrancy of public life in their communities, their states and their nation.

The business community that the Maryland Chamber of Commerce represents understands it has an enormous stake — as well as a unique and potentially effective role to play — in strengthening American civic life.