Founder’s Award Competition

The Timothy R. Stephenson Founder’s Award is presented annually to the EAST program best demonstrating the overall purpose and mission of the EAST Initiative at the local level. The award is presented in honor of Tim Stephenson, who founded the EAST Initiative in Greenbrier, Arkansas in 1996. The Founder’s Award competition is a great opportunity to showcase your program’s abilities and accomplishments over the past year. 

Who Can Submit?

All EAST schools are eligible to submit applications for 2010 except Centerpoint High School, which was the 2009 winner. The three schools who won Awards of Excellence in 2009 (Eureka Springs High School, Har-Ber High School and Maui High School) are eligible.

How to Apply

Applying for the Founder's Award is a two-step process. Schools must first submit a letter of intent. If a letter of intent is not received, the judges panel will not accept their application packet. Following are guidelines for the letter of intent and application packet:

Step 1 – Letter of Intent:  A formal letter (Word Document) addressed to the Founder's Award judges panel, including the following information.

  • Name of your school and program
  • Statement of your intent to submit a complete application packet by the deadline
  • The main student contact for the application—name and contact information

Attach your letter of intent by email to

The deadline for the letter of intent is Wednesday, November 11, 2009. No letters will be accepted after the deadline and programs without a letter of intent cannot submit for the Founders Award. A program can decline to complete the application process after submitting a letter of intent, however a letter of intent must be filed before any program can be considered.

Step 2 – Application Packet:  Click the following link for judging criteria, application packet requirements, and submission instructions. Deadline for application packet submission is Wednesday, January 13, 2010 (Deadline extended to January 20 due to inclement weather).

Founder’s Award Judging Criteria & Application Packet


Finalists will be announced by the second week of February. Following are notes for finalists.

Discussion Topics: Provide 3-5 discussion topics for students to present on stage at the Banquet. More details about discussion topics will be provided with the announcement of the finalists in February.

Program Impact Assessment: New this year, Founder’s Award finalists may choose to not participate in the live judging portion of the Program Impact Assessment (PIA).  If choosing this option, your program will still be required to follow the booth guidelines and participate in all other PIA pre-conference activities except for the final presentation submission due the week before Conference.

Dress Rehearsal (Required): Two representatives from your program will be asked to attend a dress rehearsal on Wednesday, March 3, time to be announced. At this time, they will be oriented regarding stage production, sound and acoustics of the room, as well as the agenda for Banquet night.  

Awards Banquet: Founder’s Award and Awards of Excellence winners will be introduced from the stage during the Banquet. The videos  submitted in January as part of the application packets will be shown. Following videos, the winning students will be asked to answer questions related to the discussion topics provided earlier, allowing the audience to learn more details about your program in a spontaneous manner. At dress rehearsal students will be briefed on the type of questions to expect, but exact questions will not be released. More information about this process will be provided when the finalists are announced.


Feedback on application packets will be mailed approximately three weeks after the EAST Conference. Feedback cannot be given prior to the conference.

This page was last updated on Monday, January 11, 2010 at 12:29:46 PM | View update history