Essay Competitions High School Students 2011

Awards
2018 High School Essay Contest

Topic: “Why do we — as consumers of media — need to obtain news from multiple feeds and not just one or two outlets?”

2017 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

First Place National Essay Winner
($1,000 scholarship)
Lauryn Wu, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Virginia
Read essay [PDF]

— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Co-winner: Aliza Diepenbrock, Spring Street International School, Friday Harbor, Washington
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Co-winner: Carolyn Harper, Bob Jones High School, Madison, Alabama
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Eileen Yang, Peddie School, Hightstown, New Jersey
Read essay [PDF]


Resources for scholastic journalists and educators

JEA Digital Media Resources
Multimedia Tools
Guide to Broadcast/Video
Guide to Moving Online


Previous honorees

2016 Contest Winners

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Simon Levien, Sparta High School, Sparta, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: David Oks, The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Christine Condon, Dulaney High School, Timonium, Md.
Read essay [PDF]


2015 Contest Winners

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Matthew Zipf, Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, Md.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Philip Kim, Paramus High School, Paramus, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Sania Chandrani, Parkview High School, Liburn, Ga.
Read essay [PDF]


2014 Contest Winners

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Tianyu Lin of Milton Academy in Milton, Mass.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Phoebe Fox of La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls in Honolulu, Hawaii
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Jacob Bloch of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, N.Y.
Read essay [PDF]


2013 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Courtney Swafford of Write from the Heart in Wilmington, Del.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Anran Yu of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Chuli Zeng of Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif.
Read essay [PDF]


2012 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Hwasung (Daniel) Yoo of Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, Va.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Niisackey Mills of South Plainfield High School in South Plainfield, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Dustin Chandler of East Burke High School in Connellys Springs, N.C.
Read essay [PDF]


2011 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Emerson Hardebeck of Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash.
Read essay [PDF, 139 KB]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Shaun Moran of St. Augustine Prep School in Richland, N.J.
Read essay [PDF, 78 KB]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Chris Papas of Oakton High School in Vienna, Va. Read essay [PDF, 74 KB]


2010 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Erin McDonough of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Shaj Mathew of Huntingtown High School in Huntingtown, Md.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Xiaonan “April” Hu of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.


2009 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Alix Cohen of Cypress Bay High School, Weston, Fla.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Victor Hollenberg of Staples High School, Westport, Conn.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Alyssa Patrick of Eisenhower High School, Yakima, Wash.


2008 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Mark Brouch, Aurora Central Catholic High School, Aurora, Ill.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Evan Rich, Jericho High School, Jericho, N.Y.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Danna Seligman, Newbury Park High School, Newbury Park, Ca.


2007 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): David Kelly, Broomfield High School, Broomfield, Colo.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Dan Garon, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Plymouth, Minn.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Erin Gowdy, Bob Jones High School, Madison, Ala.


2006 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Angelika Zych, Vanguard High School, in Ocala, Fla.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Jonathan Homrighausen of Sunnyside High School in Sunnyside, Wash.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Amy Brooks of Clayton High School in Clayton, Mo.


2005 Contest Winners
— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship winner) : Mindy Zhang, Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax, Va.
— Second Place ($500 scholarship winner): Zachory John Drisko, Green Hope High School, Cary, N.C.
— Third Place ($300 scholarship winner): Katie Roberts, Home schooled, Walnut Shade, Mo.


2004 Contest Winners
— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship winner): Heather Hamilton, Sentinel High School, Missoula, Mont.
— Second Place ($500 scholarship winner): Logan Oyler, Hickory High School, Chesapeake, Va.
— Third Place ($300 scholarship winner): Joey Muffler, Bishop Ireton High School Alexandria, VA


2002 National First Place Winner
Jonathan Ross Kaplan, Nova High School, Davie, Fla.

2000 National First Place Winner
Katie Pennock, West Henderson High School, Hendersonville, NC

1999 National First Place Winner
Darcy Colson Baxter, Lansing Central High School (near Ithaca, N.Y.)

1998 National First Place Winner
Michael Anthony Fedele III, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill, S.C.

Postmark deadline: February 23, 2018

Nominations accepted beginning November 3, 2017

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association want to increase high school students’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of independent media to our lives. National winners of this essay contest receive scholarship awards.

Award recognition

First Place: $1,000 scholarship
Second Place: $500 scholarship
Third Place: $300 scholarship

Entry Deadline

All entries should be postmarked by February 23, 2018.


Complete Official Rules and How to Enter

For official contest rules and information on how to enter this year’s High School Essay Contest, please visit this link.

By Molly Nocheck September 10, 2014

It’s that time of year: FIRE will once again award $20,000 in college scholarships to the winners of our annual Freedom in Academia Essay Contest. High school juniors and seniors planning on attending college after graduation are encouraged to enter to win one of nine scholarships worth $10,000, $5,000, $1,000, or $500.

To enter, watch two FIRE videos—“Don’t Cage My Speech! A Student Schools His College” and “Silencing U: Five Outrageous Cases of Campus Censorship”—and write an essay answering the following prompt:

“Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities? Using examples from both videos, discuss how censorship of student speech is incompatible with higher education.”

Part of making an informed decision about where to go to college is knowing whether a school upholds its commitments to protect student expression. All too often, students don’t realize they should consider a school’s free speech track record when making the important choice of where to attend. FIRE’s essay contest encourages high school students to know their rights before they go to college, so they are better prepared to defend those rights when they arrive on campus.

Do you know a high school junior or senior? Then send them this link—thefire.org/contest—and encourage them to apply!

Who can enter the essay contest?

Current high school juniors graduating in 2016 and high school seniors graduating in 2015 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and plan to attend college are eligible to submit an essay for consideration.

What is the deadline for entering?

The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2015. Winners will be announced by January 31, 2015.

What is the essay prompt?

“Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities? Using examples from both videos, discuss how censorship of student speech is incompatible with higher education.” Your essay should be 800–1,000 words and should stay on topic.

How many will win, and how much will they win?

FIRE will award one $10,000 first prize, one $5,000 second prize, and three $1,000 runner-up prizes for the best essays. Four $500 winners will be chosen from the remaining entrants in a drawing.

Where should I send my essay?

Essays can be submitted on the contest page, thefire.org/contest.

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