Announcing the winners of FIRE’s 2019-2020 Free Speech Essay Contest!

February 13, 2020

FIRE is delighted to announce the following winners of this year’s Free Speech Essay Contest:


Alyssa NoseworthyFIRE Free Speech Essay Contest winner Alyssa Noseworthy.

First Place – $10,000 Scholarship Prize

Alyssa Noseworthy – Nathan Hale High School, West Allis, Wis.


Second Place – $5,000 Scholarship Prize

Kayla Host – Weatherford High School, Weatherford, Texas


Third Place – (3) $1,000 Scholarship Prizes

Forrest Cooley – Homeschooled, Warrenton, Ore.

Emily Boyett – Du Quoin High School, Du Quoin, Ill.

Simran Bhardwaj – La Cueva High School, Albuquerque, N.M.


Runners-Up – (4) $500 Scholarship Prizes

Beth Wegener – Homeschooled, Cascade, Idaho

Sydney Householder – The Prout School, Saunderstown, R.I.

Katia Sergeeva – Alpharetta High School, Alpharetta, Ga.

Keegan Priest – Buchanan High School, Clovis, Calif.


Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s contest. Selecting the winners from so many deserving candidates was an enormous challenge, and we recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of all who took the time to participate. It’s very heartening to see so many young people express their appreciation for their First Amendment rights passionately and eloquently. 

This year’s prompt focused on FIRE’s free speech comic book, which remains available at no cost. We will reopen the contest in the fall for high school juniors and seniors during the 2020-2021 school year with a new and different prompt. You will be able to find the new contest guidelines at thefire.org/contest in September. We always look forward to receiving your essays!

If you’re attending college next year, get a head start and join FIRE’s Student Network. You’ll be the first to hear about scholarships, internships, conference opportunities, and more!