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.

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.

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?

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