Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s America Project
National Student Essay Competition: Grades Six through University
The Boston Globe will again lend its distinguished support as Media Sponsor of the National Student Essay Competition this 2022-2023 school year. Covid with its school closures made it impossible to schedule the Competition in 2020-2021 yet we received many submissions, calls and requests for essay entry forms from students, parents, and teachers! We are also proud to report that the Knight Foundation has just honored our Project as a Sponsor.
Our determination to incentivize students to begin thinking about democracy for themselves is even more critical now. Our children have no role and no voice in today’s debate about the legitimacy of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They are a passive audience for whom even civic learning is on “the margins of their young school experience [Brookings]” and who, if ignored, will simply perpetuate the current divisions in our society.
A December 2021 poll released by the Harvard University Kennedy School's Institute of Politics found that 52% of young people in the U.S. believe that the country's democracy is either "in trouble" or "a failed democracy." Only 7% said that democracy in the United States is “healthy.”
The Competition will provide students - who could be the future defenders of our Constitution and Bill of Rights - an opportunity to consider what it means to them individually when accusations of the press as “enemy of the people,” unfounded conspiracy theories, and threats to fundamental democratic values challenge their own freedom.
In order to break through the clutter of attacks and counterattacks among our political leaders, the competition’s award strategy aims to encourage children, grades six through university, to submit an essay on this topic. We have formed a lean non-profit [501(c)(3)], Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s America Project, that will focus its efforts on raising $300,000 in order to amplify the number of students writing about today’s challenges to our democracy.
Our goals, once funding is in place, are the following: (1) attract submissions from across the country, from every type of educational institution [ public, private, parochial, homeschooling, technical etc. ] and from students of all backgrounds and political indoctrinations; (2) accelerate and intensify national coverage and support of the Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Project; and (3) generate broad public recognition of the critical importance of civic education to a democracy.
If our fundraising is successful, Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s America Project would like to present the winning National Student Essayists with the following awards:
|Division||1st Place||2nd Place||3rd place|
|University [Undergraduate] / College||$25,000||$20,000||$15,000|
Mary Kay Office Lazarus, PhD
Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s America Project 501(c)(3)