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Student Essay Contest 2010

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Nation Student Writing Contest, 2010

We’re looking for original, thoughtful, provocative student voices to answer this question: How has your education been compromised by budget cuts and tuition hikes? Essays should not exceed 800 words and should be original, unpublished work that demonstrates fresh, clear thinking and superior quality of expression and craftsmanship. We’ll select five finalists and two winners—one from college, one from high school. Each winner will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize and a Nation subscription. The winning essays will be published and/or excerpted in the magazine and featured at The five finalists will be awarded $200 each and subscriptions, and their entries will be published online. Entries (only one per student) will be accepted from May 15th through June 30th, 2010. A winner will be announced by September 15. Please send entries to

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The contest is open to all matriculating high school students and undergraduates at American schools, colleges and universities as well as those receiving either high school or college degrees in 2010. Submissions must be original, unpublished work (the writing can have been published in a student publication). Each entrant is limited to one submission. Entries will be accepted through June 30, 2010. Submissions can be e-mailed to Please include the essay in the body of the e-mail. All e-mailed submissions will be acknowledged. Each entry must include author’s name, address, phone number, e-mail and short biography and school affiliation—and say “student essay” in the subject line. Please email for questions.

Read previous winners:

The Natural Order of a Small Town
Jim Miller: 2009

Transcending Trauma
Victor Lopez: 2008

Leave us Alone
Ryan Thoreson: 2007

Project Corpus Callosum
Sarah Stillman: 2006

2010 CFOG Essay Contest Press Release

Fallon Frawley, a senior at West Haven High School, has won the first prize of $1,000 in this year’s Connecticut Foundation for Open Government (CFOG) high school essay contest.

Her essay held that operators of social networks were not liable and should not be sued for slanderous or cyber bullying messages.

A second prize of $500 was won by Diana Pimer, also a student at West Haven High who wrote that public schools should punish any speech by students that is likely to cause disruption of the educational process even that speech occurs off school grounds.

The third place prize of $300 goes to Byron J. Perpetua, a student at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford. His essay defended student free speech.

Honorable mention awards of $50 went to Douglas Buckheit of Joseph A. Foran High School; Kayla Toole of West Haven High School; Amirul Annar of West Haven School; Nicole Gutter of Ridgefield High School and Stacey Matakaetis of West Haven High School.

Students were asked to write essays on one of three topics. The topics were:

1.     A legislative proposal would prohibit Connecticut public schools from punishing or censoring any speech by students unless it is “likely” to cause material and substantial disruption to the educational process. Is this the right standard? Should it make a difference if the speech occurs outside of school such as on e-mail or Facebook?

2.     Do you believe your city or town government is open and transparent and gives all the citizens the opportunity to comment and implement change if they disagree with decisions made by government officials?

3.     Newspapers, television and radio stations are legally responsible for what appears in their publications or broadcasts. Should the law permit people who have been libeled, slandered, “cyber bullied” or whose privacy has been invaded to sue the owners or operators of social networks such as Facebook, My Space and Twitter for such offensive statements by individual account holders?

Judges for the contest were Bob Estabrook, Janet Manko, George Krimsky and Mary Connolly.

There were 81 essays entered in this year’s contest from students in 12 Connecticut schools.

CFOG sponsors the essay contest to encourage thought and debate among students on public and freedom of information issues and to increase student knowledge of the value of open government in a democratic society.