Write about civic courage | Win a $5,000 scholarship
Who is your local civic hero? Answer this question by writing an essay 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. 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.
Watch the video above to hear from past winners about the essay and local leaders who inspired them.
Thank you for your interest. The 2023 contest is closed. Winners will be notified by June 1, 2023.
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).
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.
1st 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 2023 panel of author judges: Stacy D. Flood, Jon 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
- Read the past winning essays. We encourage you to find your own civic hero!
- Research assistance is available from librarians at all Seattle Public Library locations. The Foundation also supports free one-on-one tutoring at the Library through Homework Help or virtually through Tutor.com.
- Helpful online resources are available for research, including: Special Collections at The Seattle Public Library, HistoryLink.org, BlackPast, and University of Washington Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.