LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is inviting middle school students to take part in the first round of the 2024 National Civics Bee and is accepting entries from now until Jan. 8.

Civics is the study of the rights and duties that come with being a citizen in society.

The Chamber asks sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students from public, private, charter and home schools to submit a 500-word civics essay for the first round of the competition. A distinguished panel will review the essays and select the top 20 students to go on to the next round, which is a live quiz that will test their civics knowledge.

The topic, further described here, will involve identifying a problem your community faces, and describing how a citizen might solve the problem.

The live quiz competition will happen on April 10, 2024, at Spring Arbor University. There will be various prizes for finalists and winners, including a $500 cash prize for the first-place student.

Finalists in the competition will go to Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2024, to compete in the inaugural National Civics Bee championship.

The competition, organized in partnership with The Civic Trust of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is meant to “inspire middle school kids to become better informed about American democracy, to engage respectfully and constructively in the community, and to build greater trust in others and institutions,” according to the Chamber of Commerce.

The deadline for your first-round essay to be received is Jan. 8 at 11:59 p.m. For more information, go here. You can mail or email your essay to the provided addresses.