2018 High School Essay Contest



2018 High School Essay Contest

First Prize: $1,000

Second Prize: $500

Third Prize: $300

Honorable Mentions: $50


Students choose one of the following topics:

  1. After a student-organized speech, “It is OK to be White,” ended in a shouting and shoving match, University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst proposed new rules for speakers and events on campus. Safety concerns and the background of speakers and their affiliates will have to be evaluated under the rules. Does this hamper free expression on campus?
  2. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission found the baker violated the state’s anti-discrimination law. Does the First Amendment protect the baker’s decision not to make a cake for a same-sex couple?
  3. Does the First Amendment protect the right of National Football League players to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality and police treatment of minorities?


Essays must be at least 400 words but no more than 600 words and emailed no later than March 28, 2018, to cfogessay@aol.com. Essays should include the student’s full name, school, grade and teacher email contact information. Winners will be announced by May 15, 2018.


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What We Do

  • Sponsor an annual conference for Connecticut's state and municipal officials on freedom of information issues
  • Underwrite costs of surveys of government agencies to measure compliance with Connecticut's Freedom of Information laws
  • Sponsor an essay contest for high school students on Right to Know and First Amendment issues
  • Present the Walter Cronkite Award a national figure who embodies Open Government principles (Recipients include Mr. Cronkite, Louis Boccardi, Jim Lehrer, and Seymour Hersh
  • Hold public policy symposia, such as the first ever National Privacy and Public Policy symposium, "Striking the Balance: Open Government In the Age of Terrorism and the need for Connecticut to enact a Shield Law
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