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2024 Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Contest 

Every year since 2012, the City Club has used this essay contest to invite students to consider different aspects of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, specifically, Freedom of Speech. 

All high school students in Northeast Ohio are eligible to apply for scholarship prizes. Essays should pull from personal experience, current events, history, politics, art, anything really so long as they are backed up with evidence. Essays will be judged on their clarity, content, originality, and significance.

2024 Prompt:

In an era of advancing artificial intelligence and digital communication, we have transformed the way we share information. These new technological advancements, especially AI, present complex challenges for freedom of speech.

Discuss the potential impacts of AI and how society can uphold the principles of the First Amendment while navigating this changing technological terrain.


The 2024 Hope and Stanley Adelstein Essay Contest is officially open for submissions.

 Click here to submit your essay.

Submission Deadline: DEADLINE EXTENDED - Friday, March 1st

  Eligibility and details:

  • All Northeast Ohio high school students are eligible to participate
  • There are two categories of judging – 9/10 grade and 11/12 grade
  • Essays MUST be 500-1,000 words
  • Please use 3 to 5 articles from reliable, valid sources in your essay.
  • Each entry is assigned a number. Essays are blind-scored by number only; no student or school names are identified. Do not include student name or school name within the body of your essay. Failure to comply may result in disqualification.
  • All first-place winners of each category are invited to read their winning essays at the start of a City Club forum.
  • IMPORTANT REMINDER - Your essay and file name can NOT include any personal identifiers (ex: your name, school, teacher, etc.) 

Example sources:

See here for full scoring rubric


11/12 Grade

  • First Place: $1,000
  • Second Place: $750
  • Third Place: $500
  • Honorable Mention: $250

9/10 Grade

  • First Place: $500
  • Second Place: $250
  • Third Place: $150
  • Honorable Mention: $100

You can view the winning essays from 2023 here: Grade 11/12 | Grade 9/10

For any questions regarding the Essay Contest, please contact Ariana Smith at


Vinay Bodapoti, 2017 Grade 11/12 Free Speech Essay Contest Winner

Want to know who is speaking next at the City Club? Sign up here.

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