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Impact (High School Network)

Research & Learn

FIRE K-12 Impact

FIRE’s K-12 curriculum materials and essay contest are catching on with students and educators from coast to coast! Since its inception in 2017, our lessons and other classroom materials have reached more than 15K users and are being used in nearly every state. Meanwhile, our annual essay contest has received more than 20K entries and awarded over $100K in scholarship awards to deserving high school juniors and seniors.

Learn Freely Map


Over 15K users
49 states reached

Here’s what teachers are saying:

“Students love it because there is a lot of discussion, debating, and it deals with something they can relate to think critically about some controversies. They are very engaged, especially when discussing offensive speech!”

“It is more important than ever that our students are cognizant of their rights and able to exercise them freely with confidence and that is why I am so grateful for the resources made available by FIRE. Since I began utilizing these resources, I have found that my students are more engaged with issues that matter and more willing to voice their opinions in classroom debates and discussions. FIRE has created a vast array of teaching materials, from videos and podcasts to Powerpoint presentations, source readings, student-centered activities and essay competitions that provide all grades and levels with meaningful learning experiences. It is clear that the staff at FIRE genuinely cares about education and are always willing to help teachers in every way possible.”

“I love that these materials are made for high school students. They are so comprehensive that teachers could easily incorporate them into their lesson plans. I was overall pretty impressed with the level of research that must have been done. The inclusion of quotations throughout the resources was extremely impressive. Very good information and use of visuals. Very inclusive of history.”

2017 essay contest winner:

“Doing research for the essay contest during my high school years solidified my belief in the First Amendment and my passion for politics more broadly.

I am currently serving as Membership Director of the UCSB College Republicans. Our club has brought intellectually diverse speakers to campus and engaged in meaningful, constructive debate with other students at our weekly meetings and public forums that we have hosted.

I greatly enjoyed reading and writing about the issue of free speech, and by the time I began attending university I could hardly wait to put my passion to action.”

2019 essay contest winner:

“When I participated in this contest, I came to see the importance of properly practicing the right I have to express myself. Placing in this essay competition motivated me to write more and learn more about government. This passion ultimately led me to decide to double major in journalism and political science in order to become a journalist someday. That way, I can practice my freedom of the press while also ensuring that others' stories are heard, loud and clear.

Following this competition, I did become more civically engaged. Most notably, I, along with several other students, attended a school board meeting to give a speech and protest the fact that they did not want to renew the contract of one of our teachers for unjust reasons. Without the Free Speech Essay Contest, I doubt that I would know enough about my right to speak out to confidently do such a thing.

Above all, I am very thankful for this competition. It sparked my interest in political science and gave me confidence in my writing. Without it, I am not for sure that I would have decided to become a journalist.”