2010 Essay Contests High School

Awards
2018 High School Essay Contest

Topic: “Why do we — as consumers of media — need to obtain news from multiple feeds and not just one or two outlets?”

2017 Contest Winners
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First Place National Essay Winner
($1,000 scholarship)
Lauryn Wu, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Virginia
Read essay [PDF]

— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Co-winner: Aliza Diepenbrock, Spring Street International School, Friday Harbor, Washington
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Co-winner: Carolyn Harper, Bob Jones High School, Madison, Alabama
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— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Eileen Yang, Peddie School, Hightstown, New Jersey
Read essay [PDF]


Resources for scholastic journalists and educators

JEA Digital Media Resources
Multimedia Tools
Guide to Broadcast/Video
Guide to Moving Online


Previous honorees

2016 Contest Winners

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Simon Levien, Sparta High School, Sparta, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: David Oks, The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Christine Condon, Dulaney High School, Timonium, Md.
Read essay [PDF]


2015 Contest Winners

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Matthew Zipf, Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, Md.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Philip Kim, Paramus High School, Paramus, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Sania Chandrani, Parkview High School, Liburn, Ga.
Read essay [PDF]


2014 Contest Winners

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Tianyu Lin of Milton Academy in Milton, Mass.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Phoebe Fox of La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls in Honolulu, Hawaii
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Jacob Bloch of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, N.Y.
Read essay [PDF]


2013 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Courtney Swafford of Write from the Heart in Wilmington, Del.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Anran Yu of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Chuli Zeng of Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif.
Read essay [PDF]


2012 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Hwasung (Daniel) Yoo of Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, Va.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Niisackey Mills of South Plainfield High School in South Plainfield, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Dustin Chandler of East Burke High School in Connellys Springs, N.C.
Read essay [PDF]


2011 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Emerson Hardebeck of Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash.
Read essay [PDF, 139 KB]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Shaun Moran of St. Augustine Prep School in Richland, N.J.
Read essay [PDF, 78 KB]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Chris Papas of Oakton High School in Vienna, Va. Read essay [PDF, 74 KB]


2010 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Erin McDonough of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Shaj Mathew of Huntingtown High School in Huntingtown, Md.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Xiaonan “April” Hu of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.


2009 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Alix Cohen of Cypress Bay High School, Weston, Fla.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Victor Hollenberg of Staples High School, Westport, Conn.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Alyssa Patrick of Eisenhower High School, Yakima, Wash.


2008 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Mark Brouch, Aurora Central Catholic High School, Aurora, Ill.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Evan Rich, Jericho High School, Jericho, N.Y.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Danna Seligman, Newbury Park High School, Newbury Park, Ca.


2007 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): David Kelly, Broomfield High School, Broomfield, Colo.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Dan Garon, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Plymouth, Minn.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Erin Gowdy, Bob Jones High School, Madison, Ala.


2006 Contest Winners
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— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Angelika Zych, Vanguard High School, in Ocala, Fla.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Jonathan Homrighausen of Sunnyside High School in Sunnyside, Wash.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Amy Brooks of Clayton High School in Clayton, Mo.


2005 Contest Winners
— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship winner) : Mindy Zhang, Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax, Va.
— Second Place ($500 scholarship winner): Zachory John Drisko, Green Hope High School, Cary, N.C.
— Third Place ($300 scholarship winner): Katie Roberts, Home schooled, Walnut Shade, Mo.


2004 Contest Winners
— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship winner): Heather Hamilton, Sentinel High School, Missoula, Mont.
— Second Place ($500 scholarship winner): Logan Oyler, Hickory High School, Chesapeake, Va.
— Third Place ($300 scholarship winner): Joey Muffler, Bishop Ireton High School Alexandria, VA


2002 National First Place Winner
Jonathan Ross Kaplan, Nova High School, Davie, Fla.

2000 National First Place Winner
Katie Pennock, West Henderson High School, Hendersonville, NC

1999 National First Place Winner
Darcy Colson Baxter, Lansing Central High School (near Ithaca, N.Y.)

1998 National First Place Winner
Michael Anthony Fedele III, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill, S.C.

Postmark deadline: February 23, 2018

Nominations accepted beginning November 3, 2017

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association want to increase high school students’ knowledge and understanding of the importance of independent media to our lives. National winners of this essay contest receive scholarship awards.

Award recognition

First Place: $1,000 scholarship
Second Place: $500 scholarship
Third Place: $300 scholarship

Entry Deadline

All entries should be postmarked by February 23, 2018.


Complete Official Rules and How to Enter

For official contest rules and information on how to enter this year’s High School Essay Contest, please visit this link.

Essay contests for high school students

As you prepare to head off to college you may benefit academically and financially by participating in a contest. Private organizations will often run such contests as a way to encourage students to pursue a certain area of study or help them become good citizens.

Generous financial awards can be put to personal use or set aside for college. Importantly, winning an essay, photography, or poetry contest can be worth including on your college application, perhaps proving to be the deciding factor when the review committee considers your own. Take part in Essay Writing Contest on ThePensters for high-school students and take a chance to win $1000 scholarship!

We located seven contests worth exploring; please the respective websites for more information. To our knowledge none of the ones we have listed require an entry fee. Some contests recently ended, therefore bookmark their website and be prepared to enter later this year.

The Ayn Rand Institute

Essays based on themes articulated by authoress Ayn Rand as outlines in her novelette, Anthem, and her novel, Fountainhead, are offered to students of high school age. Top prizes are $2000 and $10,000 respectively with numerous runner-up awards granted. Details: http://www.aynrand.org/contests/

The Christophers

High school students with a flair for the artistic can enter the annual poster contest sponsored by The Christophers. Your poster must be based on a theme such as “One Person Can Make a Difference.” Details: http://www.christophers.org/Page.aspx?pid=274

John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The library named for our 35th president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, runs an annual Profiles in Courage essay contest for high school students in grades nine through twelve. The winner receives a $5000 cash award plus $5000 deposited to a college savings plan account. Details: http://www.jfklibrary.org

First Freedom Center

Students are asked to write an essay based on a theme supporting religious freedom. The first place winner is awarded a $3000 cash award with second ($1500) and third place ($750) awards also given. Details: http://www.firstfreedom.org/education/students.html

AFSA National High School Essay Contest

The American Foreign Service Association invites high school students to enter write an essay based on foreign relations and foreign policy. In 2010 the theme was “Challenges Facing the American Foreign Service in the 21st Century.” The essay winner takes home a $2500 cash prize. Details: http://www.afsa.org/essaycontest/

The Bill of Rights Institute

The “Being an American” essay contest is open to students and teachers with the first place winner taking home a $5000 cash prize. The top 27 winners also receive an all expense paid trip to Washington, DC. Details: http://www.beinganamerican.org/about_the_contest/prizes.html

Keep the Drive Journalism Awards

Texting and driving do not mix and has been proven to be the number one killer of children. Both a print and broadcast category are offered with students invited to submit articles they’ve printed in high school newspapers or broadcast segments disseminated through in-school announcements. Grand prize is $3000 with second through fifth place winners receiving awards ranging from $2000 to $500. Details: http://www.keepthedrive.com

Photo Credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian

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