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2019 Fourth Circuit Essay Contest – Entry Deadline April 15, 2019

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Who May Enter

The essay contest is open to all students currently in grades 9 through 12 from Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Note: Children, grandchildren, stepchildren, and members of the household of a federal judge or federal judiciary employee are excluded from the competition.

Essay Question

The prompt for the 2019 Essay Contest is “How has the right to freedom of speech established for public school students in the Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines evolved in the 50 years since it was decided?”

Length & Format

Essays are limited to 1000 words. Citations should be placed in footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies and excluded from the word count. Submit your essay as a Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF document. Do not include your name on your essay.


  • Understanding of constitutional principles (35 points)
  • Clarity and effectiveness in expressing the theme (30 points)
  • Grammar, spelling, and composition (20 points)
  • Originality (15 points)

Missing the submission deadline, providing false entry information, and plagiarizing content are grounds for disqualification.

Essay & Entry Form

Submission Deadline

Your essay and entry form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2019. The contest entry form includes instructions for submitting your essay. Please complete your essay before submitting the entry form.