Gerald R. Ford High School Essay Challenge, 2015

Top 20 Finalists


Liz Dykens

First Place
Elizabeth Dykens, Home School, 10th

Integrity is mysterious.  It is an abstract noun, not a physical object seen with the eyes, nor a tangible item held in the hands.  No mass. No shape.  No life.  Despite all this, integrity is a real, undeniable force which unfolds in the silence of our minds.  Gently and quietly, it prods us to do what is right — to uphold truth.  In Webster's dictionary, integrity is described using three, concise words: sincerity, honesty, and uprightness.  Following this definition, one comes face-to-face with a question; a mystery imploring to be answered.  How can an individual demonstrate integrity in a world where many believe that the end often justifies the means?
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Kendra Kundst

Second Place
Kendra Kunst, Calvin Christian High School, 11th

Imagine being a professional baseball player.  You have just agreed to a contract of four million dollars. A week later as you review your contract, you realize instead of receiving four million dollars a year, your contract states that you will obtain $4.5 million.  What would you do?  Would you keep the extra 500,000 dollars or return it?
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Anthony DeWitte

Third Place
Anthony DeWitte, Calvin Christian High School, 11th

Sports are a large part of both high school and our country today. Fans wear exotic outfits, create amusing chants, and spend all kinds of money just to watch the teams they love. Athletes have the opportunity of not only entertaining the fans but also teaching lessons about life through their actions on the field and off the field.
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Honorable Mention

Bonnie Chase
Newago High School, 10th

Ashley Conrad
Kenowa Hills High School, 12th

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Armit Deol
Forest Hills Eastern High School, 12th

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Matthew Hartwell
Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 10th

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Elizabeth Rott
Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 10th

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Faith Smith
Newaygo High School, 10th


Finalists

Sophia Frankel
Forest Hills Northern High School, 12th

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Isa Hoban
Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 10th

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Colleen Jones
Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 10th

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Carol Lugthart
Plymouth Christian, 12th

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Payton Scholtens
Calvin Christian High School, 11th

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Hannah Spencer
Kenowa Hills High School, 12th

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Daniel Staal
Calvin Christian High School, 11th

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Jason Taylor Stenquist
Kenowa Hills High School, 12th

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Gabriele Stornant
West Catholic High School, 12th

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Kelsey Van't Zelfde
Plymouth Christian, 12th

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Jonathan Walkotten
Plymouth Christian, 11th

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Essay Challenge Rules and Guidelines


RULES
The President Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge is open to all 9th through 12th grade students in Michigan. To enter, write a 500 – 750 word essay on this year’s theme, The Meaning of Integrity Today. Limit one entry per student, per contest. All essays must be submitted on white, 8 1/2” x 11” paper with one-inch margins on each side. Essays must be single-sided and double-spaced, using black or dark blue ink. Judges will determine legibility of fonts and hand written entries. A title page is required for each entry. It must include student name, address, phone, e-mail, grade, school, teacher, school address and school phone. The sponsors reserve the right to interpret the contest rules and to make decisions concerning the awards in situations not covered by these rules. Participation in the contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of all official rules and guidelines, including eligibility requirements.

PROCESS
Drop off, or mail, completed entry to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Attn: Kristin Mooney, 303 Pearl St., NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353. All entries must be hand delivered or postmarked no later than March 9, 2015. No late entries will be accepted. Essays will be reviewed by judges comprised of civic, education, and/or business leaders.
Finalists will be notified no later than April 1, 2015. Participating sponsors are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, illegible, or incomplete essays, or essays that do not follow all rules and guidelines.
Essays will not be returned.


JUDGING CRITERIA
Winners will be selected based on adherence to the theme, quality of narrative, originality of the essay, as well as on proper use of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Judges will select the top three entries. Judges also reserve the right to select up to six honorable mention recipients. Decisions of the judges are final.


ELIGIBILITY
Employees of the sponsors, and members of their households, are not eligible. By participating, each contestant agrees to comply with these rules and further agrees to accept the decision of the judges as final and binding. Parents or guardians of the finalists will be required to sign and submit a publicity consent form as a condition of a student’s participation in this contest.

PRIZES
The first place winner will receive $1,000.00, second place $750.00, and third place $500.00. Honorable mention recipients will each receive $250.00.