Catholic Citizenship Essay Contest

The Order encourages all councils and assemblies to sponsor the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest at schools in their communities. The essay contest is a creative way to encourage young people to become citizens who are firmly grounded in the Faith.

The Order has expanded the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest to all Catholic students — in public, private or parochial schools — in grades 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 during the current school year. The contest has also been expanded to go through the different levels of competition to the international level.

The theme of the essay contest is “The Importance of Religious Freedom.” The contest opens the doors of young minds, enabling the entrants to be creative, thoughtful and introspective in their work.

As Catholics we are called to participate in the political life of our country. This can be difficult at times because our beliefs are often misunderstood and unpopular. Also, laws and regulations from our governments can be contrary to our beliefs and threaten to force us to violate our conscience. Discuss the challenges we face in this area, the importance of religious freedom, and the idea of the Catholic in the public square.

First place winners will receive a check for $300, and two runners-up for each grade level will receive $100.

Tell Us About Your Programs
Help us improve the Service Program activities offered by the Supreme Council office by sending reports on your council’s successful activities and/or any suggestions you may have on improving our programs. Send this information to Fraternal Services, Service Program Suggestions, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or contact us. Please include “Service Program Suggestions” in the subject line.

Action Steps

Eligibility

The Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is open to all Catholic students — in public, private or parochial schools — in grades 8,9,10,11 and 12 during the current school year.

Timetable

July/August: Councils, assemblies and circles order Knights of Columbus Essay Contest Kits from the Supreme Council Office. (Print Version - Online Version)

August/September: Councils, assemblies and circles contact schools to secure cooperation. At this time the date, place and means of recognizing winners should be determined.

September/October: Students write essays. Essays should be submitted to judges by October 15.

October/November: Judges review essays for council level.

The Essay Contest council participation form (#4216) for the council level  should be filled out and sent to the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal Services by January 30.

December/January: District Judging if necessary

February/March: State judging. Essays due to the Supreme Council for international judging by April 15.  Jurisdiction winners should be recognized at the state convention or another jurisdiction event.

May/June: International Essay Contest winners announced by the Supreme Council Office.

Theme and Topic

The theme of the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is: “The Importance of Religious Freedom.”

Guidelines

  • Essays must reflect the assigned theme and topic, and be submitted by the published deadline.
  • Essays must be the student’s original work.
  • Essays must be typed on 8 1/2” X 11” paper, one sided, double spaced, with one-inch margins.
  • Essays must be between 500 and 750 words long.
  • The student’s name should appear only on the official Knights of Columbus Essay Contest entry form which should be stapled to the essay.
  • All entries become the property of the Knights of Columbus and will not be returned.

Judging

Judges will be selected by the sponsoring Knights of Columbus council, assembly or circle. Council, assembly members, clergy, civic officials and/or members of the community may serve as judges.

Essays will be judged on a 100-point scoring system:
20 points: Overall impression — How well does the essay describe the role of a Catholic citizen in a free society?
30 points: Content — How clearly is the theme presented?
20 points: Grammar — How well is the essay written with respect to sentence structure, paragraph construction and spelling?

30 points: Style — Does the essay show creativity, imagination and development of the topic in a compelling style?

Sponsoring Organization

The Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The official responsible for the contest is the grand knight of the sponsoring council, or faithful navigator of the sponsoring assembly.

Awards

Certificates for first, second and third place winners, and certificates of participation for all entrants, are included in the essay contest kit.

Additional certificates are available from the Supreme Council office free of charge. It is recommended that councils consider monetary awards in the range of $100 to $250 in the form of savings bonds or cash to first place winners. It is also recommended that a special certificate or plaque be given to the school of the champion of each division. The school could then place the award in its trophy case or otherwise display it in the school.


Support Materials

All the materials needed by councils to participate in the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest are included in the Essay Contest KIT (EA-Kit). The kit includes the following items:

 Description   Item  Quantity in Kit
 Entry Form/Judging Sheet     #4208  50
 Promotional Poster   #4209  5
 Religious Freedom Resources Online Only  0
 Essay Contest Guide   #4202  5
 Participation Certificate   #4206  50
 1st Place Certificate   #4207  5
 2nd Place Certificate   #4865  5
 3rd Place Certificate   #4866  5
 Generic Winner Certificate   #4214  5
 Essay Contest Participation Form   #4216  1

When ordering materials, please mail or fax a Requisition Form (#1) to the respective department.Orders made online or faxed in should not be mailed because it may result in duplicate order. Please allow four weeks to ensure delivery by the event.


Winners

The theme of the 2013-14 essay contest was “The Importance of Religious Freedom.”  The following are the International Contest Winners:

Grade Level

Place

Student

Council

City/Jurisdiction

8 1 Brian Dineen 5806 Monroe, CT
8 Runner Up Clara Buck 2557 Turlock, CA
8 Runner Up Adriene Pavek 8930 Pocatello, ID
9 1 Sarah Kupiec 189 Utica, NY
9 Runner Up Davis Meyer 6514 Athens, GA
9 Runner Up Mark Vintayen 3428 Belleville, NJ
10 1 Cynthia Anne Wolfe 6107 Colchester, CT
10 Runner Up Lauren Day 14659 Evansville, IN
10 Runner Up Greg Johanning 3746 West Melbourne, FL
11 1 Michael Caughey 15337 Norton Shores, MI
11 Runner Up Ellen Beauchemin 8600 Fairfax Station, VA
11 Runner Up Ryan Abboud 1317 Houma, LA
12 1 Nathan Peetz 7406 Mooresville, NC
12 Runner Up Davis John Arbogast 6374 Eagan, MN
12 Runner Up Hannah Johnson 7359 Kelowna, BC

 

Tell Us About Your Programs

Help us improve the Service Program activities offered by the Supreme Council office by sending reports on your council’s successful activities and/or any suggestions you may have on improving our programs. Send this information to Fraternal Services, Service Program Suggestions, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or contact us. Please include “Service Program Suggestions” in the subject line.