By Mary Connolly
Students and teachers around Connecticut have a deadline on their minds – March 28. That’s the deadline for submitting essays in CFOG’s annual 2018 high school essay contest.
CFOG sponsors the contest each year to encourage thought and debate among students on public and freedom of information issues. Students choose one of three topics to answer in their essays.
Winning essay writers receive a $1,000 prize for first place, $500 for second place, $300 for third place and $50 for honorable mention.
The essay topics for the 2018 contest are:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Essays should include the student’s full name, school, grade and teacher email contact information. Winners will be announced by May 15.
Our 2017 contest winners were first place winner Michelle Xiong of Greenwich High School, second place winner Ben Guzman of East Lyme High School, and third place winner Charlotte D’Inzeo of West Haven High School. Honorable mention prizes were won by students at Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge, East Lyme High, Greenwich High, Trumbull High, West Haven High, and Northwest Regional High School in Winsted.