Independence Day Scholarship Contest

Not being offered this year
Maximum Award: 
High school and college students (see comments)
You must be in the 9th grade through 12th grade or out of high school less than 12 months.

In 2013 The Joe Foss Institute is offering the Donna “didi” Foss Essay Scholarship Contest.


Are you a creative writer with an interest in history? The Joe Foss Institute has established an essay contest with the theme “I DECLARE! What it took to declare our independence. The Independence Day Scholarship Contest requires that you write at least 1500 words, however, you can address this topic in your own style.

Read the Declaration of Independence: "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation...

Think about what it was like for a group of people to break away from their family, friends and fellow citizens and write away.



The factors that will be used to evaluate your essay include: Creativity, Theme Development,
Clarity of Ideas, and Mechanics (Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation, Sentence Structure, etc.)


  • This contest is open to U.S. citizens of all national backgrounds that are currently studying in the United States or in an American military school out of the country.
  • Eligible contestants must be high school (9th—12th) students in a public, private, alternative, parochial school, or a home study program.
  • Previous recipients of a $5000 scholarship from one of their contests are not eligible.
  • Recent high school graduates are eligible to participate as long as the deadline of the current contest falls within 12 months after graduation.

Essay Rules:

  1. The essay MUST be the contestant’s original work (finalists’ essays will be scanned for plagiarism).
  2. Contestants may enter only one time per contest.
  3. Each essay must be at least 1500 words in length. Cover page, title and footnotes do not contribute to the word count. A 1499 word count is not acceptable, and all rules are firm.
  4. Quotations may be used sparingly and sources must be clearly identified. You may use any form of citation as long as credit is given where due.
  5. All entries must be double-spaced, and in English.
  6. Contestants may not identify themselves or family members, their schools, cities, nor state within the essay. No reader should be able to say “Oh... I know who that is” upon reading your essay.