The 2017 Essay Contest is now closed. Winners will be announced on July 1st.


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


Essay Topic

Choose one of the following church-state separation violations that frequently occur in U.S. public high schools:

Teaching religiously-based curricula in public schools, which includes inaccurate versions of history based on religious teachings, creationism and climate change denial, and abstinence-only sex education.
Mandating students who attend public schools to also attend assemblies with religious content or to pray.
Discriminating against students based on the religion they practice or their choice not to practice.
Using religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

After choosing one type of violation to write about in your essay, please explain why this violation encroaches upon the constitutional principle of church-state separation, and tell us how you would solve this problem if it occurred (or has already occurred) in your school. Feel free to reference current events, U.S. history, personal experiences, AU.org, protectthyneighbor.org, or primary sources in your response.


Eligibility

  • This contest is open to all United States high school juniors and seniors
  • Employees and board members of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and members of their families are not eligible to participate

Specifications

  • 750-1,200 Words
  • Adherence to guidelines and carefully proofread
  • Articulate, creative, and tightly focused response that demonstrates a genuine grappling with the topic
  • Observation of rules for Standard English usage (grammar, punctuation, and mechanics) in writing
  • Well-researched with convincing arguments supported by specific examples
 

2016 Essay Contest Winners

 
1st Place: McKenzie Hartman
 

1st Place: McKenzie Hartman


Douglas Brown.jpg
 

2nd Place: Trey Brown III

 


 

3rd Place: Madeline Glawe