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Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship

Who is your civic hero? Write about their courage for a chance to win tuition support.

The Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship is an opportunity for local students to write essays about an individual or group of individuals from Washington State who have demonstrated civic courage on an issue of importance to the community at great personal, political, or professional risk.

Meet the 2024 winners and read their essays here.

Watch the video below to hear from past winners about the inspiration they drew from the library and what civic courage means to them!


The 2025 contest will open on January 1.

Applicant Requirements
To qualify to submit an essay, you must:

  • Reside, attend school, or work in Seattle.
  • Be 13 years of age or older.
  • Have a Seattle Public Library card.
  • Be a current high school senior or undergraduate enrolled or planning to enroll at a post-secondary school that accepts Federal Student Aid (FSA).

In your essay be sure to:

  • Provide a persuasive case as to how the individual or group you have selected has embodied or demonstrated civic courage.
  • Define civic courage in order to make your argument.

Essay Requirements
To qualify for the competition, the essay must:

  • Draw upon at least three credible sources.
  • Utilize in-text citations, preferably using the MLA format (find formatting guidance online, for example at Purdue Owl).
  • Provide a works cited page, preferably using the MLA format.
  • Be between 1,500 and 2,000 words (excluding the citations or works cited).
  • Be double-spaced and use Times New Roman 12-point font.

You are highly encouraged to refer to the Essay Judging Rubric as you write and review your essay. Please see the Official Rules for complete details on eligibility and essay requirements.

First Place: $5,000 scholarship
Runners-up: Two $2,500 scholarships

In addition to the scholarship prize, the winning essays will be added to the collection in the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room at The Seattle Public Library.

Thank you to our 2024 panel of author judges: Stacy D. FloodJon Krakauer, and Kristen Millares Young!

The Legacy Behind the Scholarship
Learn more about Stimson Bullitt, a great civic leader. Click here.

Inspiration, Examples, and Research Assistance
We encourage you to find your own civic hero! Read the past winning essays for inspiration.