High school students: Thankful for free speech? Express your gratitude in writing by entering our annual essay contest!

November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving is almost here! Schools are closing, there’s a nip in the air (at least, there is at FIRE’s headquarters in Philadelphia), and students are heading home to enjoy all the delights of this restful interlude before the holiday rush.

Sure, you’re busy, and there’s a ton of food to eat, football games to watch, and family members to greet. But let’s be honest: with four days off from school, at a certain point, you’re probably going to get at least a little bored.

When that happens, we have a great solution: Grab a seat and a cozy blanket and hammer out the winning entry to FIRE’s annual Free Speech Essay Contest! This year’s question asks students to read our new free speech comic, “Finding Your Voice,” and to consider, in 700–900 words, how the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech can help students develop more informed opinions. You can find examples of past contest-winning essays here. The contest closes at the end of the year, on Dec. 31, so there’s about one month left to submit your entry.

Once again, FIRE will be awarding nine scholarship awards: one $10,000 first prize, one $5,000 second prize, three $1,000 third-place prizes, and four $500 runners-up. Extra money to help pay for college would definitely be something to be thankful for! Winners will be announced by Jan. 31, 2020.

We at FIRE are thankful all year long for our precious First Amendment freedoms but we feel an extra rush of gratitude during this season as we gather together to pause and reflect on what unites and protects us as Americans. A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from all of us!