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2015 September Student Writing Contest
Writing Contests for High School Students and College StudentsMONTHLY WRITING CONTESTS:  StageofLife.com hosts monthly international writing contests for high school students and college students.  Answer the real-world writing prompt below to share your thoughts and experiences as we change the world, one story at a time.  View winners of past writing contests.

Writing Contest:  Freedom of Speech


RULES...
SUBMIT ESSAY...

STEP 1 Answer Survey:
  Click the Survey Monkey logo to the right to answer our short poll.

STEP 2 Submit Essay:
For the September 2015 writing contest, we want you to write a personal essay (500 words or less) about Freedom of Speech.

NOTE:  Submit the title of your essay per the directions below.

Background:
"Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom."

—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut

For many American teenagers, Freedom of Speech (which is our First Amendment right), is used everyday...and in some cases maybe even taken for granted.  Teens are free to post hourly updates on Twitter, to provide commentary about issues brought up on Facebook, and for the most part speak freely throughout the day about the topics they deem important.  

For our September 2015 writing contest, we want you to think deeply about the Freedom of Speech. You can interpret the topic how you wish.  

You may want to take a historical point of view and explain the importance of Freedom of Speech, or you may want to take a more personal point of view of how it pertains to your life, or perhaps you would like to explain freedom of speech in relation to the internet, or maybe you want to speak freely about a topic that is important to you that you think others should be aware of, or possibly you want to talk about the lack of Freedom of Speech in other countries around the world.  

Whatever your take is on this important topic, make sure your essay is appropriate for our website.  --No profanity. 
--No pornographic language. 
--No defamation or libel permitted. 
--Essays containing this material will be removed immediately.

We want to hear how Freedom of Speech resonates with you, so gather up your thoughts and write a creative, personal essay (500 words or less) that explores the topic Freedom of Speech.
Click the blue "Submit Essay" button to the right to upload your story and enter the writing contest.

Title of Essay: 
When you submit your essay, title it as:  "Freedom of Speech: ______"

Include the phrase "Freedom of Speech" as the beginning of your essay title, but then make the rest of your story title unique.   Examples:
  • Freedom of Speech: Surviving in a Landscape of Political Correctness
  • Freedom of Speech: Standing Up and Saying What Needs to be Said
Rules: 
Three simple rules for the Stage of Life student writing contest. 

1) This is a Non-Fiction essay contest. 
2)  Essays are 500 words or less.
3)  Essays must be your original work.



Deadline: 
Midnight Sept. 30, 2015 Pacific Time US


Results: 
Finalists, Runners Up, and the Winner will be posted on our writing contest winners page and Teen Trend Report after Oct. 26, 2015.

NOTE:  Winners will be contacted via a post on their uploaded StageofLife.com story once judging is complete (approx. 30 days after contest ending).   An email will be sent to the winner(s) to get the address for the prize package approx. 1-2 months afterwards.
Freedom of Speech Essay Contest


STEP 1:  Take Survey

Take StageofLife.com teen survey

(Click logo to take survey)




STEP 2:  Enter Essay

Submit essay to StageofLife.com writing contest

(click to submit your essay) 
Please title your essay per instructions to the right


Writing Contest Resources

Articles and Videos about Freedom of Speech:

1) Article: 
Article about Freedom of Speech
The American Civil Liberties Union’s take on the importance of Freedom of Speech


2) Article: 
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression
This helpful article from the Encyclopedia Britannica explains the first amendment rights including the freedom of speech and freedom of expression

3) Article: 
Freedom of Speech in Schools
An article that asks whether or not students truly have free speech in schools 50 years after the legendary Tinker v. Des Moines case.


4) Video 

Marvin Ammori explains net neutrality and how it pertains to Freedom of Speech in the 21st century





5)  Video 


A YouTube video by FIRE which asks the question: Does Free Speech Offend You? and takes a hard look at how college campuses are skewing the First Amendment.





Education Prize Sponsors


Education essay sponsor - Papa John's   Education writing sponsor - IHOP

Writing Contest Prize Package

  • The student (high school or college) who writes the 1st place essay will receive gift cards compliments of our education sponsors, Papa John's and IHOP.
  • Bragging rights
Please thank our sponsors, Papa John's and IHOP, for supporting the writing and literacy efforts on StageofLife.com
     Twitter writing contest by StageofLife.com
    Enter our Twitter Contest
    ATTENTION TEACHERS:
    Language Arts Teacher Resources
    Contact StageofLife.com for National Writing ContestContact Us about this Teen Writing Contest 






    EXTRA INFORMATION AND RULES FOR THE WRITING CONTEST...

    Writing Contest Rules on StageofLife.comBe Real.  Be Yourself
    The strongest submissions for this essay contest will use a personal tone and point-of-view writing style that shares your thoughts on the topic.  If you want to make your essay even stronger, we recommend doing a little research and adding quotes or a statistic (or two). 

    Quick Rules:
    • Essays should be 500 words or less.
    • You are welcome to blog on StageofLife.com as much as you want, but only ONE essay submission per user for the writing contest is allowed.
    • Please be creative with your title, then type or cut and paste your full essay from a program like NotePad or TextEdit (don't use any formatting - just text, please) into the Story Details field (which will appear after you click the Submit Essay button above. 
    • Adjust the spacing of your essay within the essay submit form.
    • Title your essay using the instructions above so our Editors can find it in the story feeds in your life stage homepage on the website.  Example:  Here's where the high school student submissions get posted - High School
    • StageofLife.com is a non-partisan literacy initiative.  We judge the writing contest submissions not on the political or religious stance of our writers, but rather on how creative, original, passionate, and well written the essays are.  See below for more details on our judging policy.
    • Read these tips for good essay writing to be considered a writing contest finalist
    • You will need to login to StageofLife.com to submit your writing contest entry.  If you don't have a StageofLife.com login, please register for StageofLife.com (it's free).

    StageofLife.com Prize Packages for Winning EssayPrize Package:  The winning writer will receive...

    • A highlight as the Winning Essay on StageofLife.com
    • Prize from the writing contest sponsor mentioned above.
    • A mention and link to your essay in Stage of Life's national monthly press release - here's a link to one of our press releases for reference.
    • NOTE:  Winners will be contacted via a post on their story once judging is complete (approx. 30 days after contest ending).   An email will be sent to the winner to get the address for the prize package approx. 2-3 months afterwards.

    International Writing Contests on StageofLife.comFree Essay Contest:

    This is a free writing contest.  StageofLife.com does not require a submission fee. ONE  ESSAY ENTRY PER PERSON FOR THE WRITING CONTEST.  However, you are welcome to blog about your life or other topics outside of this writing contest at any time on StageofLife.com

    Contest Deadline:  

    Last day of the month at midnight Pacific Standard Time (US).   StageofLife.com time stamps all essays in Greenwich Mean Time (England) as we are an international writing initiative.  International submissions are welcome.

    Winning writing contest essays on StageofLIfe.comWinning Essays: 

    Of the submitted essays to StageofLife.com for a given writing contest prompt, one student winner and one adult winner will be selected.  The winner and semi-finalists will be announced after the 20th of the following month.  Winner and semi-finalists will be contacted by a StageofLife.com staffer via the email used to register for the website.

    As we state in our Writing Contest Rules and Judging Criteria, student writers selected as our national essay finalists and winner(s) will demonstrate strong writing skills, a unique point-of-view, personal tone, originality, and realness in their essay. 

    "Realness?"  Yes...realness. 

    Blogging contests on StageofLife.comThe reason that journalists and organizations ranging from TIME.com to Mint Education have featured our essays (especially our teen posts) in the national media is because our bloggers all write from the heart.  Real people sharing real stories about their lives.  Combine this with our position as one of the only international, non-partisan, literacy platforms in the world and you'll find Stage of Life an open environment to share your ideas. 

    Post Comments: 

    We'd like to encourage all participants and readers to make comments on these writing contest essays.  Please just remember to keep all comments/posts/discussions civil and in good taste in each of the essay-blog threads, especially since some of our writing prompts are sensitive in nature.  Nasty comments, personal attacks, or other such comments are not allowed and will be removed should they come to our attention.

    Judging:

    If you have questions about the rules or judging criteria for our writing contests, you can visit our Rules & Judging Criteria page.

    College student writing contest on Stage of LifeLast Words - Share Your Story: 

    Our hope is that your writing contest submission will positively impact others and help with our mission of making the world a better place, one story at a time.  Your essay may inspire others or even better, give you an opportunity to share a story that's simply important to you.

    After you've submitted your essay, feel free to share the link to your essay on Facebook or Twitter.  Our essays are judged by real Editors, not popularity, but we do like to spread the word about our national, grassroots writing contest.   Also, please share this writing contest with Language Arts, English and History teachers, or on your blog or website. 

    If you know a teacher who would like a Stage of Life writing contest poster for his or her classroom, have them contact us.

    About:

    Read more about StageofLife.com and our mission

    Good luck!  Scroll back up and click on the "Submit Essay" button to upload your essay.

    Next

    Writing Contest for College Students - ENTER BELOW

    Weekly Essay Contest for College Students

    How to Enter?

    1)  Read the rules below

    2)  Read the question prompt details

    3)  Answer the poll below (if provided)

    4)  Submit your essay to StageofLife.com using the GREEN "Enter Contest" button


    Topics:

    As you can see, our writing contests deal with "real-world" teen issues.  So much, in fact, that our monthly summaries on teen trends have been featured in the press on TIME.com, Mint Education's Blog, ABC TV's "Mary Talks Money" program, etc.  


    Writing Contest Prizes: 


    Yes, we have prizes if you win the writing contest...but not that you're writing something important just to win, right?  Each month, one winner selected from the combined high school and college entries will get a prize package containing...

     

    Rules for the Monthly College Writing Contest are as follows:

    • Essay must relate to the theme (see below).

    • Essay must be your original work.

    • Essay can be no longer than 500 words.

    • Essay must be non-fiction and follow the form of a diary, journal, blog, memoir, or essay.  That is to say...we want real stories about real life...from you.

    • Once entered, essay will become a part of Stage of Life's public facing content so no foul language or inappropriate material.  Those entries will be removed.

    • Registration to Stage of Life is required to enter the writing contest.  It's free and will allow a) Stage of Life to post your essay and b) you to join the writing community here on Stage of Life to enter future writing contests or simply share a story about your life.

    • Writing submission must come from a current college student.

    • Essays will be judged on a combination of factors including style, content, length, originality, use of argument, grammar, spelling, etc.

    Contest Judges:

    Eric Thiegs:  CEO and Founder of Stage of Life

    Rebecca Thiegs:  Senior Editor, Stage of Life.  Rebecca has her master's in education from the University of Minnesota along with 12+ years teaching advanced English for high school students.  She's currently freelancing as a curriculum consultant for McDaniel College's Summer Academic Enrichment Program - an initiative through the DC Success Foundation.

    Sarah Hamaker:  A freelance writer and editor with more than a dozen years of experience, Sarah Hamaker is the author of Hired@Home, a guide to unlocking women’s work-from-home potential. She has a master’s degree in Literature and Language from Marymount University. Sarah has judged teen short story contests as well as magazine awards. Visit her online at www.sarahhamaker.com.

    Stage of Life Editorial Team:  Stage of Life's very own life stage editors (all 20+) weigh in each month with their vote for selecting the winner from a pool of 5-10 semi-finalists.

    Enter the Student Writing Contest:

    Please read below for details on the free monthly writing contest and click the green "Enter Contest" button to submit your essay.  Good luck!

    Writing Contest Archive - Students

    Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

    StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

    Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by StageofLife.com.  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on TIME.com, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

    2015 Writing Contests

    2014 Writing Contests

     2013 Writing Contests

    2012 Writing Contests

    2011 Writing Contests

     2010 Writing Contests

    Stage of Life Mission Statement

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    StageofLife.com is an education-based, grassroots, non-partisan, free blogging community with a mission support digital literacy by making the world a better place, one story, essay, and blog at a time.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes literacy resources, free lesson plans, writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students (and older generations), student blogging initiatives, blog directories, and financial literacy tools - including Life Rewards® - our free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

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