Americans United Essay Contest 2017


Saturday, April 1, 2017



Entry Fees



First place: $1,500; Second place: $1,000; Third place: $500


Americans United for Separation of Church and State has launched its second annual essay contest that invites high school juniors and seniors to address church-state separation issues that frequently occur in public schools.

Students should write about a potential violation involving one of the following:
* The teaching of religiously-based curricula in public schools, which includes inaccurate versions of history based on religious teachings, creationism and climate change denial, and abstinence-only sex education;
* Mandating students who attend public schools to attend assemblies with religious content or to pray;
* Discriminating against students based on the religion they practice or their choice not to practice;
* Using religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

After choosing one type of violation to write about, students should explain why this violation encroaches upon the constitutional principle of church-state separation, and tell us how they would solve this problem if it occurred (or has already occurred) in their school. They can reference current events, U.S. history, personal experiences,,, or primary sources in their response.

* This contest is open to all United States high school juniors and seniors.
* Employees and board members of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and members of their families are not eligible to participate.

Judging criteria:
* 750-1,200 Words
* Adherence to guidelines and carefully proofread
* Articulate, creative, and tightly focused response that demonstrates a genuine grappling with the topic
* Observation of rules for Standard English usage (grammar, punctuation, and mechanics)
* Well-researched with convincing arguments supported by specific examples

Deadline is April 15, 2017. Essays should be submitted at

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