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Every year since 2013, The Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Contest challenges high school students to examine the role of free speech in the 21st century. The essay contest was established by Hope and Stanley as part of the City Club’s Centennial celebration. The Adelsteins were longtime City Club members, philanthropists, and environmental activists. Stanley joined the City Club in 1941 and remained an active member until his death in 2014. Hope’s hallmark was civic involvement, and she was active in the Cleveland community until her death in 2016.

All high school students in Northeastern 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.

The results for this year can be view here.

View the 1st place winners submissions here: Grade 11/12   Grade 9/10


2019 Essay Contest Details

2019 Prompt:

Throughout 2018, there have been many conflicts surrounding free speech. From college campuses to the White House and with an increasingly polarized environment, both on and offline, people disagree about how free speech should be utilized and protected in their daily lives. These disagreements about free speech seem to have widened the rift between the left and right and to have made compromise on important issues difficult to reach. In such trying times, we often question whose voice has a right to be heard. What are the biggest threats to freedom of speech? What should be done to protect this core value of American Democracy?

Submissions for this year's contest have closed. The new prompt will be anounced in Fall 2019.


Submit Your Essay Here


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 winners are invited to attend a City Club forum with a guest and the first place winners for each category are invited to read their winning essay prior to the start of the forum.
  • Deadline: Monday, March 11, 2019

Example sources:

See here for full scoring rubric.

Awards:

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

Last year's winners spoke at the forum featuring Dale Minami, the attorney who led the pro bono legal team that overturned the 40-year-old Supreme Court decision, Korematsu v. United States. You can view the winning essays here: Grade 11/12 Grade 9/10

For any questions regarding the Essay Contest or Student Programming, please contact Julia Wang, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator at jwang@cityclub.org.

The Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Contest is sponsored by 

McDonald HopkinsEssay Contest Winner

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

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