Announcing the 2017 Scott Johnson Open Government High School Essay Competition

Sponsored by the Washington Coalition for Open Government and Stokes Lawrence Law Firm


This contest in intended to help educate young people about the importance of open government and to honor the memory of Scott Johnson, a former Washington Coalition for Open Government board member and attorney with Stokes Lawrence.

Essay Contest Information:

The 2017 topic:

“In what ways is it important for citizens to have access to government records and meetings, and what are the perils if citizens are denied access? Cite actual examples of benefits and perils to support your position.”

In addition to clearness of expression and thought, essays will be judged on the entrants’ understanding of the issues of transparency, accountability and the public’s right to know. Prospective entrants should be encouraged to explore the coalition’s website at www.washingtoncog.org to gain familiarity with WCOG’s work. They should also be encouraged to study the state’s Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act to learn about transparency and what the law requires.

Contest entries must be received no later than midnight May 15, 2017. Submitted essays must be 400 to 600 words and represent the original work of the contestant. Care must be taken to avoid plagiarism. All references must be attributed.

All high school students, grades nine through twelve, in all Washington public and private high schools, as well as home-schooled students at the equivalent stage of their education are encouraged to submit an entry.

The winner will receive a $1,000 prize and an honorary one-year non-voting membership on the board of the Washington Coalition for Open Government.

Transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government.

The Coalition was formed to act as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated promoting and defending the People’s right to know in matters of public interest and in the conduct of the public’s business. The Coalition’s driving vision is to help foster open government processes, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry, which is the cornerstone of democracy.


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