2020 High School Essay Contest


2020 High School Essay Contest

First Prize: $1,000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: $300
Honorable Mentions: $50


Choose one of the following topics:

  1. In October 2019, two University of Connecticut students were charged under a state hate-crime law for yelling the N-word on campus. The comments were not directed at a specific individual. Should these students have been charged with a criminal offense? Does the First Amendment protect offensive speech?
  2. The Killingly Board of Education has voted to keep the “Redmen” mascot for Killingly High School although it was previously rejected as a racist symbol. Students, teachers and Native American groups had urged the board not to do this. In Killingly, the dispute became an election issue last fall. Is it a First Amendment issue?
  3. In most communities, student publications are subject to approval by faculty advisers, school principals and school superintendents. When a subject is controversial, their instinct is often toward censorship to avoid criticism. Should Connecticut have a state law that protects student free expression?


Essays must be at least 400 words but no more than 600 words and emailed no later than March 31, 2020, 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, 2020.