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Contest Essay Liberty

Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest

Students can win up to $2,000 for college by writing an essay discussing whether public school calendars should accommodate religious holidays in the 2018 Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest. To enter, students must write an 800-1,200 word essay responding to the following prompt:

In most public high schools, certain days are marked as religious holidays on the school calendar, and the schools are closed on those days.  As public schools become more diverse, some students’ religious holy day(s) are not days that the schools are closed, resulting in absences for those students.

In an essay, discuss whether public school calendars should accommodate religious holidays.

Consider how school administrators should determine if, or which, religious holy days are included in the school calendar, or if any school policies should be changed to better accommodate students’ religious exercise. Be sure your essay identifies how the First Amendment supports your position.

Click here to download and print the 2018 Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest entry forms

Students should develop a point of view, demonstrate critical thinking and use appropriate examples, arguments and other evidence to support their position. Any high school student graduating in 2018 or 2019 is eligible to enter the contest. There is no religious requirement. Entries must be mailed and postmarked by March 9, 2018.

The grand prize is a $2,000 scholarship and a trip for two to Washington, D.C. Prizes of $1,000 for the second place winner and $500 for the third place winner are also available. Winners will be announced by the end of summer 2018.

The annual Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest engages high school students in church-state issues by directing them to express a point of view on a religious liberty topic. Essays are judged on the depth of their content, the mastery of the topic, and the skill with which they are written. Students should develop a point of view on the issue and demonstrate critical thinking, using appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support their position. The annual contest is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Baptist Joint Committee.

For questions on the 2018 essay contest, read these FAQs or contact Charles Watson Jr. at cwatson@BJConline.org or call 202-544-4226.

Ashley Chico, Grade 10, Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando, Florida, adult sponsor Cece Scott

Ethan Davis, Grade 12, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, adult sponsor Patricia Berge

Jonathan Johnson, Grade 12, Home-schooled, Irvington, NJ, adult sponsor Tracye Johnson

Layla Kousari, Grade 12, Parkway North High School, St. Louis, Missouri, adult sponsor LuAnn Fallahi

Madeline Kujabi, Grade 10, Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School, Syracuse, NY, adult sponsor Marni Nolan

Giana Moreno, Grade 11, Trinity High School, River Forest, Illinois, adult sponsor Margaret McNair

Brandon Oppong-Antwi, Grade 12, Eastern York High School, Wrightsville, PA, adult sponsor Natali Monaghan

Danielle Sanders, Grade 11, Pelham High School, Pelham, Alabama, adult sponsor Connie Hayes Nolen

Maxwell Turk, Grade 10, Northview High School, Johns Creek, Georgia, adult sponsor Camillie Janess