OCDE art contest underscores the importance of census participation — even during a pandemic

To drive home the importance of participating in the U.S. Census, the Orange County Department of Education is encouraging students to take part in a social media art contest.

The Making My Community Count: OC Census Virtual Visual and Performing Arts Showcase invites young people across all grade levels to produce original artwork, videos or graphics that answer this question: “How does the 2020 Census help my community?” 

Showcase logoThe top three winners will receive a new Chromebook, and their work may be used in local census campaigns. The first three teachers with at least 10 student entries will also receive a gift card to purchase $500 worth of classroom supplies.

“Because the pandemic has limited census canvassing, many Orange County residents have yet to be counted,” said Marika Manos, OCDE’s history, social science and civics coordinator. “Through the showcase, we hope to activate communities around the census and do so in ways that promote student creativity.”

The contest is open to any student who attends a public, private or home school in Orange County, and the deadline for sharing entries is Wednesday, June 3. Participants are asked to use the online submission form and post their creations on social media, accompanied by the hashtags #2020census and #OCstudentscount. Additional details are on the showcase website

Easy, confidential and critically important

Every 10 years, the federal Census Bureau conducts a massive population count that’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The data that’s produced helps establish the number of congressional seats and electoral votes, and it serves as the basis for allocating about $900 billion in federal funding that impacts education, housing, safety and other critical public services.

“This is one of the few national activities the American public does together,” Orange County Superintendent Al Mijares wrote in December. “It’s also easy, confidential and critically important to our students and their communities.”

To learn more about the census and its importance, check out this Census 101 two-page fact sheet.

Meanwhile, educators who would like to teach a virtual lesson on the census should check out these history and social science resources for grades five, eight, 11 and 12. You can also find curricular content for English, math, geography and other subjects through the Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools program.

OCDE is asking teachers who share resources with families or teach lessons tied to the U.S. Census to take a moment to complete this brief survey outlining how you supported the 2020 count.