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National Student Essay Competition

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Student Resources - DEADLINE :  
National Student Essay Competition


Dear Colleagues: Our kids are home and many of us are now their teachers: Here’s a “lesson plan idea” that supports the First Amendment and offers an opportunity for your new “student(s)” to compete for cash awards and a college scholarship.
Stay safe!
Mary Kay Lazarus, Director National Student Essay Competition

The National Student Essay Competition ‘Why a Free Press Matters in a Democracy” offers students in grades 6 through university an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the First Amendment while competing for a four-year scholarship, current total value $152,000, at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and $15,000 in cash awards from the Boston Globe Foundation.

Essays will be judged on originality and thoughtfulness in addressing the topic of “Why a free press matters in a democracy.” Students are asked to email their essay as a Word document of 500 words maximum, typed and double-spaced, to

All entries must include the student’s name, phone number, e-mail address, mailing address, name and department of the school and grade in which the student is currently enrolled, as well as the name of the local news outlet. The deadline is April 24. For more information about the competition, the sponsors and the Honorary Advisory Committee, go to

The competition is funded by the McCarthey Family Foundation. The Boston Globe is the media sponsor. The cash awards and scholarship will be given at the 15th Annual McCarthey Family Foundation Lecture Series: In Praise of Independent Journalism, on Nov. 7 in Salt Lake City.

National Student Essay Competition Honorary Advisory Committee:
Rolena Adorno, Sterling Professor of Spanish. Yale University
Nick Akerman, Partner, Dorsey Whitney law firm. Former Watergate Prosecutor
Hala Al-Dosari, Inaugural Jamal Khashoggi Fellow, Washington Post. Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at MIT Center for International Studies
Karen Attiah, Editor and Writer, Global Opinions, Washington Post
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Chair of the Center for African-American Studies &  William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies, Princeton  University
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian & author
Lee Huebner, Airlie Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. Former CEO & Publisher of the Paris-based International Herald-Tribune
Nancy Gibbs, Director, Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Edward R. Murrow Chair of Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Former editor in chief of TIME
Neal Katyal, Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of National Security Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Former Acting Solicitor General of the United States
Barbara  McQuade, Professor, University of Michigan Law School. Former U.S. Attorney
Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential biographer, editor and columnist
Norman J. Ornstein, American political scientist and resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Courtney Radsch, Director of Advocacy, Committee to Protect Journalists
Jason Rezaian, Global Opinions writer for the Washington Post. Formerly the Washington Post correspondent in Tehran
Jenn Topper, Communications Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School
Joyce White Vance, Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Law, University of Alabama. Former U.S. Attorney
Jill Wine-Banks, Attorney. Former Watergate Prosecutor.


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