17-18 Essay Contest




The Connecticut Bar Foundation is pleased to announce the Eighteenth Annual James W. Cooper Fellows Quintin Johnstone Essay Contest.  The 2017-2018 topic is “Diversity Disagreement?”  As in past years, this year’s topic was chosen for its special relevance to students of high school age.  We believe that participating students will find the topic pertinent and interesting.   


“Diversity Disagreement?” deals with a student who has written the principal asking for a meeting to discuss why she should have been selected for one of several subsidized spots set aside for students with diverse backgrounds for a school trip. She believes she is being discriminated against both economically and in terms of her background.  Contest entrants are asked to assume the role of the school district lawyer who is called upon to provide a recommendation for or against selecting the student for the subsidized spot.  Entries are not to exceed 1000 words and should support their position on this issue.  See below for the full topic prompt.


The contest winner will receive $2,000 and the two runners-up will receive $1,000.  The winning students, school contest coordinators, and principals will receive award plaques which will be presented at a ceremony presided over by Connecticut Supreme Court Justices at the Connecticut Supreme Court.


The contest is open to high school students, vocational-technical school students, students enrolled in a high school diploma credit program under the age of 21, and high school age home-schooled students.


We invite all interested students to submit entries through their school’s teachers or guidance counselors, or, in the case of home-schoolers, through their parent/guardian.  See Contest Rules.


Entries from each school/home-schooler must be submitted to the Connecticut Bar Foundation in Hartford, postmarked no later than February 23, 2018.


The following materials are provided on this site at the links highlighted below: 


•     Essay Topic - The essay topic is “Diversity Disagreement?”


•     Contest Rules - A copy of these rules should be given to each student who will be participating in the contest. 


•     Judging Criteria and Procedures - This sets forth the criteria that will be used to evaluate the entries submitted to the Foundation.


•     Submittal Form - This form should be completed by the teacher(s)/counselor(s) from each school and must accompany the entry packet.


•     Home-School Submittal Form - This form should be completed by the home-schooler’s parent/guardian and must accompany the entry packet.


•     Student Entry and Release Form - The Student Entry and Release Form must be submitted with each student’s entry packet. 


•     Home-School Student Entry and Release Form - The Home-School Student Entry and Release Form must be submitted with the home-schooler’s entry packet. 


•     Parent or Guardian Release Form - If the student is under 18 years of age, this form must be signed by the parent or legal guardian of the student-writer of the entry and submitted with the entry packet. 


If you have any questions, please contact the Connecticut Bar Foundation at 860-722-2494 or ctbf [at] cbf-1 [dot] org.


We hope that you will agree that this contest provides students with an exciting opportunity to earn monetary prizes while advancing their understanding of the role of law in the world around them.  We look forward to receiving your entry, postmarked no later than February 23, 2018.