CFOG high school essay contest accepting entries

The Connecticut Foundation For Open Government
Announces the
2024 Forrest Palmer High School Essay Contest

First Prize: $1,000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: $300
Honorable Mentions: $50

New deadline: Friday, April 5, 2024. See details at the CFOG website.

Choose one of the following topics:

  1. The UConn campus in Storrs features several “spirit rocks” – large boulders that students paint, often with messages of school pride. But in the fall, the rocks took on a distinctly political air, with students on opposite sides of the Middle East conflict painting (and painting over) messages alternately supporting Israel and Palestinians. University officials considered moving the main rock to a less visible location, and some advocated removing the rock entirely to avoid further tension in the community.If you were president of UConn, what would your policy be regarding the spirit rocks?
  2. Last winter the children’s department of the Kent Memorial Library in Suffield featured a display on kindness that included a book on pronouns titled “What are Your Words?” After a resident complained, Suffield First Selectman ordered the book removed from the display while allowing it to remain in the library, saying that was a fair balance of competing interests. Critics called it censorship that targeted a marginalized group, and the library director later resigned, citing ongoing interference by town officials.How should towns respond to requests to remove books from displays in public libraries? And what role, if any, should libraries play in highlighting controversial topics that some in town consider objectionable or inappropriate?
  3. A Christian evangelical group sponsors an after-school “Good News Club” at Lebanon Elementary School, spreading the Gospel to students who choose to attend. In response, the Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple received permission to start the “After School Satan Club” at the school. With the motto “Educatin’ with Satan,” the group presents itself as an alternative to religious outfits that proselytize to students. They say they are not devil worshippers, but rather promote rational and scientific inquiry. Some parents have signed their children up, while others have denounced the group as “evil.” Should the After School Satan Club be permitted to use the elementary school building? What limits, if any, should be placed on religious – or anti-religious – groups that want to meet in public buildings?

Rules

Essays should be 400-600 words, and emailed no later than Friday, April 5, 2024, to cfogessay@gmail.com. Essays should include the students full name, school, grade and email contact for either the students or a teacher. Winners will be announced in mid-May.

Essays should include the students full name, school, grade and email contact for either the students or a teacher. Winners will be announced in mid-May.