High School Essay Contest Opens.

High School Essay Contest Opens

High school students throughout Washington are invited to enter the 2017 Scott Johnson Open Government High School Essay Competition, offering a cash prize for the best essay on this year’s topic of open government issues.

This year’s topic is “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.”

Entries should be 400 to 600 words of original work, submitted by email to the Washington Coalition for Open Government by May 15, 2017. The best essay will receive a $1,000 prize and an honorary one-year non-voting membership on the WCOG board. Other awards may be made at the discretion of the judges and with approval of the WCOG board of directors.

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 award(s) will be presented to the winners in their home school districts before the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

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

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.

Entries must be emailed to info@washingtoncog.org as plain text in the body of the email, or as Word or PDF attachments. Entries should include the entrant’s name, age, home address, telephone number, email address, the school currently attended. Only one entry per student is allowed.

For more information about the contest or the Washington Coalition for Open Government, contact info@washingtoncog.org.

Return to the April 2017 Newsletter