Freedom Of The Press Essay Contest

Teachers are invited to have their students enter the American Freedom Essay Contest to win a free field trip of Historic Philadelphia for their entire class.

In honor of Constitution Day, The Constitutional Walking Tour wants students to give their views about American freedom. The American Freedom Essay Contest challenges educators to get their students to write a 100-300 word essay on the importance of freedom in their lives. Entries will be judged in Elementary School, Middle School and High School categories with the winner in each category earning a free field trip with The Constitutional Walking Tour for his/her class.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR EDUCATORS

  • Step 1 - Review The Constitutional's many free educational resources available at by visiting www.TheConstitutional.com/1787.
  • Step 2 - Prepare for the contest by having your students find an example of a freedom like Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Assembly in The Philadelphia Inquirer or your local hometown newspaper.
  • Step 3 - Have your students write their own individual essays on "How a particular American freedom (i.e., Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Vote, Freedom of Assembly) makes people's lives better."
    Elementary School Students (grades 1-5) are required to write an essay of approximately 100 (one hundred) words. Middle School Students (grades 6-8) and High School Students (grades 9-12) are required to write an essay not to exceed 300 (three hundred) words.
  • Step 4 - Collect the essays from your students.
    Note: All entries for grades 3-12 must be typed. Entries for grades 1-2 can either be typed or handwritten in neat legible writing, by an adult if necessary.
  • Step 5 - Review the Contest Terms & Conditions
  • Step 6 - Submit the essays from your students by Friday, October 13, 2017.

    All entries can either be submitted online at www.TheConstitutional.com/essay or via the U.S. Mail to the address below:

    American Freedom Essay Contest
    c/o The Constitutional Walking Tour
    P.O. Box 2066
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Please note that each essay entry submitted via U.S. Mail must also include the contest entry form (PDF format). Handwritten entries from grades 1-2 must be submitted in hard copy along with the contest entry form via U.S. Mail to the address above.

USE THE NEWS to prepare for the contest by finding an example of a freedom like Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Vote or Freedom of Assembly in The Philadelphia Inquirer or your local newspaper. Write how this freedom makes people's lives better.

Winners 
Winners are usually announced some time in early December each year.

Previous Winners 
You can read previous years' winning entries in the American Freedom Essay Contest by clicking here.

Entries become the property of The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia and may be published. Please read the contest's full terms and conditions.

To sumbit essays online, please complete the form below. Alternatively, you can mail in your hard copy essay submission along with a completed entry form - Click here for mail-in details (PDF Format). For questions, call 215.525.1776 or email us at info@TheConstitutional.com.

Deadline for entries is Friday, October 13, 2017.

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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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
Read Press Release

— 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.

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