Gerald R. Ford High School Essay Challenge, 2017

Daisy Hagen

Place: Daisy Hagen
Newaygo High School / 11th Grade

"Capital L"

When the founders thought, Liberty!
What came to mind?
Was it freedom for some
Or for all humankind?
They created a system
That was masterfully designed
But all was not perfect
When the documents were signed ...

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Maya Trowe
Second Place: Maya Trowe
Forest Hills Eastern High School/ 12th Grade

Where Liberty is a Statue

My mother always felt it important to keep my knowledge of the culture from my country of origin alive. As a result, I was actively thrust into camps, classes, and any opportunity to do so. One of her numerous attempts included our multiple dining experiences at chinese restaurants-- though I did not mind. Though my menu preferences varied, my brief interactions with the staff remained constant. Every visit, no matter the restaurant, I was told the by the staff, You have been given such a great gift; you will have such a great life here. Having not even reached the double digits yet, I was unable to comprehend the recurring phrase told to me time and time again. As I have continued to grow as an individual, the meaning behind this message has become clear to me. ...

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Deena Hoffman

Third Place: Deena Hoffman
Plymouth Christian High School / 12th Grade

"The Disregard of Liberty"

As I walk through the halls at school, I dejectedly think about all the things I have to do. Homework is bogging me down and my lack of sleep is getting to me. Depressed and exhausted, I think of how much I hate school and how I would like to crawl in a hole and disappear. The stress and mental anguish is wreaking havoc on my mental and physical state. All of this is due to my abhorrence of school, the homework, the atmosphere, and the people. Everything is too difficult and there is not a single drop of motivation in my body. My life is miserable....

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Honorable Mention

Andrea DeVries
Plymouth Christian High School/ 10th Grade
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Olivia Huber
Forest Hills Eastern High School / 12th Grade
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Cassandra Knauss
Martin High School / 12th Grade
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Joanna Schout
Homeschool/ 9th Grade
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Shelby Strong
Newyago High School / 9th Grade
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Akhil Vinod
Forest Hills Eastern High School / 12th Grade
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Essay Challenge Rules and Guidelines

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 Leadership 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.

Drop off, or mail, completed entry to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Attn: Barbara McGregor, 303 Pearl St., NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353. All entries must be hand delivered or postmarked no later than March 14, 2016. 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 8, 2016. 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.

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.

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.

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.