Announcing our 2015 William J. Schulz High School Essay Contest

Why I’m Good Without God: Challenges of being a young nonbeliever or Young, bold and nonbelieving: Challenges of being a nonbeliever of color

For College-Bound High School Seniors

First place: William J. Schultz Memorial Award: $3,000
Second place: $2,000
Third place: $1,000
Fourth place: $750
Fifth place:— $500
Sixth place – $400
Optional honorable mention(s): $200

Eligibility: North American high school seniors who graduate in spring 2015, going to college in fall 2015.

Choose one of the topics below:

  • Atheist/nonbeliever of color prompt: Write from personal perspective about experiences or challenges you face, as a nonbeliever in a religious family or community, and minority within the freethought community. Are there obstacles discouraging diversity within the movement? What do you think could be done to make freethought and nonbelief more attractive to America’s nonwhite communities? Include at least one paragraph about why you are a nonbeliever.
  • Why I’m good without God prompt: Write from personal perspective about your experiences or challenges in the face of persistent stereotypes that atheists and other nonbelievers are not moral. Explain how you’re “good without God,” why religion is not necessary for morality and may even be counterproductive. What can you or others do to counter negative stereotypes about nonbelievers? Include at least one paragraph about why you are a nonbeliever.

Length: 500 to 700 words.

Other requirements: Essays must be submitted both by mail and email by postmark deadline. No faxes. Type, double-spaced essays with standard margins and staple. Include word count. Place name and essay title on each page. Choose own title and include a one-paragraph biography on separate page at end of essay. Include name, age and birth date, hometown, university or college, year in school, intended major and interests, name, city and state of high school and date of graduation as well as intended college. Don’t attach a résumé.

Provide both summer and fall 2015 addresses (campus and home), phone numbers and email addresses for notification. Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. FFRF monitors for plagiarism. Do not write under or over word minimums and maximums. For chance to win $50 bonus, indicate the name of the secular school or college club you belong to or join the Secular Student Alliance (free at and mention it. The bonus is provided by a kind couple. Click here to view a printable PDF.

Deadline: Postmarked no later than June 1, 2015. Winners announced in August.

Submission rules: Essays must be both mailed (postmarked) and emailed no later than June 1, 2015 to [email protected] with subject heading “Essay [and Your Full Name],” e.g., Essay Voltaire, and send to:

High School Essay Contest
PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701

About William J. Schultz: This competition is endowed by William J. Schultz, a member of FFRF who died at 57, was a farm boy who became a chemical engineer and built paper-producing mills around the world. He cared deeply about FFRF’s work.

Please check back soon for our 2015 Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay and Brian Bolton Graduate/Older Student Essay prompts.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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