2018 Essay Contest


Jay Ogden Essay Contest

 This contest honors the late Jay Ogden, a longtime LWV member who believed students should be prepared to be informed citizens. As informed citizens, we examine events around us and form educated opinions that shape what we say and do. This contest is offered as an opportunity to think about an issue and then, through the writing process, to develop and explain a position on the topic. 

Topic: Listen, Write, Learn 

In a country where we seem to be more divided than united and it is easier to argue than to respectfully discuss, the Lexington League of Women Voters is posing a writing challenge intended to foster conversation, critical thinking and reflective writing. 

1. Choose a current social/political issue you feel strongly about.

It could be, but is not limited to, discrimination, immigration, 2nd Amendment rights, freedom of speech. Then choose someone to talk with who has a different background and a different perspective on the issue. (Ex., conversation about an immigration issue between native born and foreign born.) Ask questions and listen to what your respondent has to say. Avoid questions with easy YES/NO answers. 

2. Then write.

Your essay should explain the issue and the different perspective each brought to the subject; your reasons for choosing your conversational partner; the range of the conversation; and, finally, your reflections and learnings from the experience. 


 This contest is open to students in grades 9-12 who are attending any Fayette County school or participating in any homeschooling network in those same grade levels. 

 Essays are to be printed double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12 point font (or equivalent), and should be maximum three pages excluding the title page and references, if used. 

 Essays should be fact-based, thoughtful, organized writings. 

 The deadline for submission is Friday, December 7, 2018. Awards will be presented in February, 2019.

Entering contestants should submit the following: 

1. Title Page- Submit all information requested on the attached Essay Title Page form. 

2. The Essay- Follow rules printed above for content and format. 

Mail essays to: 


P.O. Box 22045, Lexington, KY 40522-2045 

Must be postmarked no later than Friday, December 7, 2018 

Email submissions may also be made by midnight on December 7, 2018 

to Judy Johnson at lwvlexessay@gmail.com 

Questions may be submitted to the above email address at any time.

Click Here for the Title Page for Student Essays

Click Here for Contest Flyer for Reference or to Post in Classroom