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Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 2 March 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

2010 Youth Essay Topics Announced

Time for Students To Show ‘Write’ Stuff

Topics and deadlines for the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 2010 college and high school essay scholarship competitions have been announced.

Both competitions award a $2,000 cash scholarship for the first-place essay, a $1,000 cash scholarship for se­cond place and $500 for third place. (Several $200 “honorable mentions” are awarded at judges’ discretion.)

The $2,000 Herbert Bushong Award for the first-place college essay is named for Texas Foundation member Herbert Bushong for his commitment to offering scholarships to freethinking students.

College-bound high school seniors are asked to write on the topics of either “The Harm of Religion” or “The Harm of Religion to Women.” Entrants may write about the harm of religion from a historical, psychological or topical perspective or about the harm of religion to women — why women need freedom from religion.

High school essays should be three to four pages, double-spaced with standard margins, stapled, and include the student’s own title and a one-paragraph biography. The bio should include age, permanent and campus add­ress (if known), e-mail and phone numbers, name and city of high school they are graduating from, and name and location of college or university in which they will be enrolled in the fall. The paragraph should include intended major and interests. Do not include a resume.

High school essays must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2010. No faxed or e-mailed essays will be accepted. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions. Winners will be announced in August 2010. The competition is open only to students living in the U.S. or Canada.

Currently enrolled college students under age 25 are eligible for the college essay competition and are asked to write on one of three topics: “Why I Am an Atheist/Agnostic/Unbeliever,” “Grow­ing Up a Freethinker” or “Rejecting Religion.” They may use a personal (biographical) or philosophical app­roach, or describe why they choose reason over faith. Experiences in rejecting religion in a religious society may be included. (Make the case for being a  nontheist in a persuasive essay.)

College students should submit an essay of four to five pages (typed, standard margins, double-spaced, stapled), choosing their own title and including a one-paragraph biography. Include name, age, hometown, university or college, year in school, major or intended major and interests. Note: The college scholarship is restricted to under age 25. If you are 25 years or older, or a graduate student, please enter FFRF’s new competition for grad students (below). Do not include a resume. Please include campus/home address, phone number and e-mail for notification. No e-mails or faxes are accepted. The competition is limited to North American students or students enrolled in North American colleges or universities at least through December 2010.

College essays should be postmarked no later than July 1, 2010. Winners will be announced in Septem­ber 2010.

Winners in both competitions agree to provide a text version of their essay by e-mail (but no e-mail submissions are accepted).

By entering, students agree to have their essays printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, and later posted online at Winners will be asked to provide a photograph suitable for publication. Winners also receive a school-year subscription to Free­thought Today. All eligible entrants will be awarded a “thank you” book or Freethought Today subscription.

Foundation members are asked to publicize the essay competitions to their local high schools, colleges and universities. (See handy ads on adjacent wrap.)

Competition information is also at 

Mail entries to:

College (or High School) Essay Competition
FFRF, Inc.
PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701