Essay Contest


Essay Contest

Each year the Freedom Festival Essay Contest gives rise to expressions of patriotism from students in K-12th grades throughout the nation.

This year’s theme focuses on the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Deadline is February 26.

Contest Guidelines

Theme: First Amendment
Eligibility: Open to all students K-12
Media: PDF, Docx
Submission Deadline: Feb 26

Divisions: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12

All entries must be the student’s original work. No one else is allowed to alter it in any way.

  1. The Freedom Festival Essay Contest is open to ALL Students in grades K-12, whether in traditional public schools, public chartered schools, private schools, or home schools.
  2. All entries must be received no later than Feb 26.
  3. All submitted essays must include a completed Contest Entry. Must be limited to 1000 words. That is the equivalent of two single-spaced pages. No personal or identifying information may appear on the essay itself.  (No names, grades, teachers’ names or school names on the essays.)
  4. Winners will be notified by email when judging is completed.  Original essays will not be returned.
Entry Deadline is February 26.
Awards and Prizes

Cash prizes will be based on judging criteria.

Grade 10-12: Win up to $500.00
Grade 7-9: Win up to $200.00
Grade 4-6: Win up to $100.00
Grade K-3: Win up to $75.00

Essay Contest Rubric

Judging Criteria10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 
Exposition of Theme (40%) 
∙ Presents ideas clearly  
∙ Develops ideas showing depth and/or higher-level thinking (analysis, etc.)
∙ Provides support for claims (examples, narrative, data) 
Meets all criteria at a  high level; ideas are  clear and developed Meets some criteria; uneven; has lapses in clarity or development Meets few criteria;  often unclear or  
Depth of Insight (30%) 

∙ Addresses the theme of Freedom
∙ Clearly connects to at least one festival value (God, family, freedom, and  county)  
∙ Remains connected to the theme throughout the essay 
Meets all criteria at a high level; easy to follow; has few errors given age of writer Meets some criteria;  uneven in addressing  theme; only partially connects to one or more festival theme Meets few criteria;  does not adequately  address theme;  
lacks connection to  at least one festival value
Writing Skill (20%)  
∙ Provides organization (essay or paragraph level) in relation to age of  writer  
∙ Avoids sentence-level errors in relation to age of writer  
∙ Incorporates and/or cites sources as appropriate for age 

Meets all criteria at a high level; easy to follow; has few errors given age of writer

Meets some criteria; demonstrates uneven organization; has several sentence level errorsMeets few criteria; lacks organizing; has a significant number of errors
Sincerity of Tone (10%) 
∙ Appropriate tone (not too formal or informal in style, word choice, etc.)  for assignment and age of writer  
∙ Shows audience awareness (when appropriate)
Meets all criteria at a high level; stylistically pleasing and age appropriateMeets some criteria; uneven in styleMeets few criteria; stylistically inappropriate

Are you a teacher?

Empower Future Leaders: Join the First Amendment Commemorative Contests and Ignite Patriotism in Your Scholars!

Sign Up Your Students

Contest Submission

    Student’s full name
    Select the student’s grade
    Select the category you are submitting according to the student’s grade
    What is the name of your Essay?
    Please upload your Essay entry in Docx or PDF format
    Enter the best email address to contact you about your entry
    Confirm your contact email address
    Provide a phone number where we can reach you about your entry
    Student’s parent or guardian name

    Enter your mailing address
    Zip Code
    Select your state
    Student’s School Name
    Student’s School Full Address
    School contact, teacher or principal
    School contact email address
    School Phone Number

    By submitting this entry I agree that the participating student is the sole author and owner of the attached file content, the student did not receive aid from others and did not use or copy any other propietary work.
    By submitting this entry, I agree to the contest rules, terms, and conditions, acknowledging that the student’s work will be distributed and shared to fulfill the judging and winning processes.

    Download The Educational Events Poster

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    2023 Essay Winners

    Thanks to all the participants that enter to our latest contest


    Ideas For The First Amendment Essay

    Students may choose to write about the purposes and applications of the First Amendment that may include its history, adoption, and recognition of significant individuals involved. Or they may write on any concept or specific freedom included in the First Amendment such as the Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to peacefully Assemble, and Freedom to Petition the Government. Students may also apply the First Amendment protections to current or historical situations and court cases.



    Do you think the freedoms identified in the First Amendment would already be protected in a democracy where citizens have a role in shaping the government? Was it necessary to establish these rights in an official document?


    The First Amendment does not permit people to do anything they want to do. How and why are the liberties and rights of people not unlimited? In what kinds of situations do you think it is fair and reasonable to limit freedom of expressions?


    Are the First Amendment freedoms among the “self-evident” …Are the First Amendment freedoms among the “self-evident” and “unalienable rights” referred to in the Declaration of Independence? What is the relationship of the Declaration of Independence to the Bill of Rights?


    What do you think about Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis statement that the founding generation “believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.”?