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HomeStudent Essay Contest

STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST


The LWV Greenwich is pleased to announce our Third Annual Student Essay Contest.  This year, students in grades 8-12 who either live or go to school in Greenwich were encouraged to enter.  Contestants chose from one of three prompts below.  Winners will be announced on May 15thand honored at the LWV Greenwich Annual Dinner, at the Riverside Yacht Club on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022.  The Grand Prize Winner will receive a $1000 college scholarship.  Winning essays will be published on this web site, and the authors will be publicized in the local press.

Essay Topic Prompt Options

OPTION 1
The Words That Made Us Volume Two


How should Akhil Reed Amar open the second volume in his trilogy about our ongoing Constitutional conversation, The Words That Made Us Equal: 1840-1920

Yale University Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science Akhil Reed Amar is one of the most cited legal scholars of all time, particularly by the Supreme Court.  The Words That Made Us: 1760-1840 is the first volume of a magnum opus melding the legal and political history of the United States.  It concludes, on pages 697-8, with a challenge to the reader to provide an opening scene for volume two of three.

My story, at least for now, has ended too soon---before America's most notable crusading women and most influential African Americans have had a proper chance to stride onto center stage...  This is a story I can't wait to tell...  The opening scene of The Words That Made Us Equal is not yet cast in concrete.  So if any earnest reader of this postscript has suggestions, I'm all ears.

Accept Professor Amar's challenge and suggest a scene that conveys the next phase of the Constitutional conversation, which is followed in 1921 by the founding of the LWV.

Your essay should propose a story to open the middle volume of this series, covering 1840-1920.

OPTION 2
Voting Rights


What do we do next to strengthen voting rights and ensure free and fair elections?

Responding to allegations of voter fraud, in 2021 more than a third of state legislatures considered bills that many argue would make voting more challenging.

The LWV has a long history of supporting the expansion of voting rights and participation nationwide, and advocated for the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, a voting rights bill considered by the United States Congress, in 2021 by the House of Representatives and in January 2022 by the Senate.  A majority of the Senate upheld filibuster protections which prevented the bill's passage.

On January 27th  the LWV of Greenwich hosted an hour-long discussion titled "State and Federal Voting Rights: What's Next?" with Andrew Garber of the Brennan Center's Voting Rights and Elections Program.  You are encouraged to view the recording.

Your essay should be addressed to the LWV US or the LWV Connecticut, and lay out a strategy they can pursue now to strengthen voting rights and access at the national or state level.

OPTION 3
Elections Matter in Greenwich


Why do local elections matter in Greenwich?

Are you passionate about how your school is run?  Who makes decisions about that and how?  (Private schools too are subject to local government choices in many ways.)

Did you know that the largest municipal legislative body in the country, the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting (RTM), saw a wave of new candidates five years ago for the first time in a century?  Or that nearly 1,000 of your fellow citizens attended local political party caucuses this year?  Do you know why?

How does Greenwich government work?

Why do local politics generate such passion among so few who actually vote?  Why do fewer than 40% of registered voters vote in Greenwich in a municipal election year like 2021?  What's at stake?  Why does it matter?

Your essay should be a persuasive Letter to the Editor explaining why local elections matter and why voters should pay more attention to issues and candidates in Greenwich elections. 


Contest Rules
  • Choose one of the three prompts above
  • Compose an original essay of 600-800 words
  • Submit it in PDF format through this site using the button in the blue box below
  • Each entry must be the verifiable original work of the submitter
  • No fee required
  • Deadline April 3rd
  • Winners announced May 15th
Formatting
  • Include a title at the top of the paper incorporating the prompt, such as "Option 1: Carrie Chapman Catt and the LWV"
  • Do not include your name!
  • Fully document the paper using MLA 9 or Chicago style
  • Post a word count below the conclusion, exclusive of title and citations
  • Append a separate page for works cited
  • Save as a PDF
Judging
  • A panel of LWV Greenwich members will evaluate the papers
  • Judges will not see the names of submitters
  • For Option 1 only, Professor Amar will participate in the selection
  • A top essay for each prompt option will be named, with awards presented at the dinner
  • One paper will be selected across all three categories for the $1000 Grand Prize



If you have any questions, please use YouthOutreach@LWVGreenwich.org to e-mail us.

Be involved!!
 
*  Join LWV Greenwich (it's free for students)
*  Read local newspapers often
*  Attend the next League event
*  Watch videos of past League events
*  Help REGISTER young voters
*  Encourage everyone in your family to vote, at every opportunity
*  Follow LWV Greenwich on Facebook and Instagram and share our posts
*  Check here for more ideas