Essay Prompt, Requirements, Eligibility, and Awards


David Hudak First Place Award: $3,000
Second Place Award: $2,000
Third Place Award: $1,000
Fourth Place Award: $750
Fifth Place Award: $500
Sixth Place Award: $400
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

In addition to their scholarship, winners will receive a school-year membership to FFRF, which includes a subscription to Freethought Today. All other eligible entrants will be offered the choice of a student FFRF membership and Freethought Today subscription, or a freethought book or product.
THIS YEAR'S TOPIC: “If there was one thing I could tell my family or a believer about why I’m a nonbeliever of color, this would be it.”

PROMPT: What would you like to tell a believer in your life (such as a family member, friend or a teacher) about why you choose freethought (atheism, agnosticism)?  You may wish to include some intellectual arguments about why you aren’t a believer or what you consider the most compelling reasons for rejecting religion. Or you may wish to explain personal challenges you have faced as a young freethinker of color in a religious culture, or in communicating with a specific believer about your nonbelief. Do young freethinkers of color face extra challenges? You may wish to draw on real life experiences in which you have tried to explain your nonbelief to a religious individual in your life.

WORD LENGTH: 350-500 words
ELIGIBILITY: Open to North American high school seniors of color who graduate in spring 2017, going on to college in fall 2017.

DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, June 1, 2017.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out online submission form and attach essay. Essay must be typed, double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 or 12 point, and attached as a PDF. Your name and the name of your essay must be included on every page. Pages must be numbered. Please choose your own title; do not use the topic of the essay as the title. Indicate word length at end of essay. Do not attach a resume with your essay.

AGREEMENT: By entering the competition, you agree to permit your winning essay to be printed in full or in part in Freethought Today, FFRF's newspaper; announced in a news release; and posted online at FFRF's website. You also agree, if you win an award, to promptly provide FFRF with a photograph of yourself suitable for reproduction with your winning essay.

REQUIREMENTS: Winners may be asked to send verification of student enrollment. Students will be disqualified if they do not follow instructions, including word limit and deadline. FFRF monitors for plagiarism.