Essay Prompt, Requirements, Eligibility, and Awards


David Hudak First Place Prize: $3,500
Second Place Award: $3,000
Third Place Award: $2,500
Fourth Place Award: $2,000
Fifth Place Award: $1,500
Sixth Place Award: $1,000
Seventh Place Award: $750
Eighth Place Award: $500
Ninth Place Award: $400

Tenth Place Award: $300
Optional Honorable Mention(s): $200

TOPIC: "Living and Thriving Without Religion"

PROMPT: Write a personal issue (in the "first person") about why you are not religious and its benefits.  Please be sure to explain why you reject religion.  You may wish to include challenges you have faced in being nonreligious.  You may also wish to include recommendations on how the secular community can better engage people of color.  

ELIGIBILITY: Open only to freethinking students of color ages 17-21, who are either high school seniors graduating in spring 2020 who will be attending a North American college or university in fall 2020, or who are currently enrolled in a college or university.  If you will be graduating from college in the spring or summer 2020, you remain eligible to enter this contest. This contest is offered to provide support and acknowledgment for freethinking students of color, as a minority within a minority. People of Color refers to all racial groups that are not white. Specifically, any person who is not considered white, including African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and others. FFRF offers other essay contests open to all students in your age group. Students may only enter one FFRF contest annually.

WORD LIMIT: 400-600 words.
DEADLINE: Fill out application and submit your essay no later than midnight, July 15, 2020.  Winners will be announced in late August 2020.

SUBMISSION RULES: Please fill out online submission form and attach essay. The essay must be double-spaced, standard margins, font size of 11 to 14 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 the 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 high-resolution 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. 

BANISH MANGLISH: FFRF encourages you to please use inclusive language, rather than language that presumes everyone is male.  For example, try "humanity" or "humankind," rather than "mankind."