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Students can enter Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge


Budding student writers are invited to consider the traits of the 38th president of the United States and enter the President Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum is a proud sponsor of SNN
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum is a proud sponsor of SNN

Each year, the  Gerald R. Ford Foundation challenges students to reflect on an important part of Ford’s character. High school students nationwide are invited to participate in the contest. Finalists are chosen and recognized at a special awards program at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.

The writing prompt for the 2019 Essay Challenge is:

“I have always believed that most people are mostly good, most of the time. I have never mistaken moderation for weakness, nor civility for surrender. As far as I’m concerned, there are no enemies in politics — just temporary opponents who might vote with you on the next Roll Call.” ~President Gerald R. Ford

Essays should be 500-750 words, sharing thoughts about civility.  Some ideas include: What does civility mean to you? How might we create a sense of civility in both our social circles and our government? Have you had an experience where, through civility, people were able to find common ground? Is there someone you admire for their sense of civility?

Students from Michigan are eligible to receive the following awards:

  • First Place: $1,000 (plus a $500 gift card for student’s teacher)
  • Second Place: $750 (plus a $250 gift card for student’s teacher)
  • Third Place: $500 (plus a $100  gift card for student’s teacher)
  • Up to seven Honorable Mentions: $250 each

One $500 award will be given to a submitting student living outside of Michigan.

Last year’s first-place winner was Aneeqa Hasan of Forest Hills Central.

Students can submit essays via an online submission form, or send them to Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, c/o Clare Shubert, 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. Entries must be received by March 11, 2019.

For more information, contact: Clare Shubert at csshubert@38foundation.org or (616) 254-0409.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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