DFLA 2020 Essay Contest
A Note from Kristen Day, DFLA Executive Director Dear 2020 Contest Participants
I want to thank all who participated. But first – my apologies for delaying the posting of the winning essays to our website. I can only presume many are curious to see the judging committee's selections. The delay relates directly to the rescheduling of the Democratic National Convention – to which we had tied our contest. We will have the essays posted by 31 July – which is the best we can do under the circumstances.
This year's contest was very competitive – with a large number of entries and a significant number of these rated as extraordinarily strong. It's clear so many of you invested much thought, research, and personal introspection as you wrestled with a prompt with many facets. Perhaps I can empathize with you – making your best case against difficult odds is very much an affair of the heart. Thank you for your participation and enthusiasm.
The judging committee made two recommendations that I will act on. First – due to the overall strength of essays, they strongly favored notifying students whose essay finished as a finalist (top 9 essays) or semi-finalist (top 75 essays). Our rules don’t have a provision for contacting students to tell them placement, but we will respond to participant questions or inquiries. Therefore, if you write our contest coordinator, he will tell you where your essay finished.
The judging committee's other comment relates to the many, singular and profound insights that pepper so many of the essays – what the judging committee called "quotable gems". These are snippets of roughly 10 to 20 words that reflect a universal truth or virtue, aphorisms we tend to associate with Nobel laureates and historical figures of distinction; that you hear in graduation speeches. We would like to dedicate a page on our website to these "gems" – to let others hear and appreciate your inspiring and uplifting perspectives. Again, if you write us and asked us what “quotable gems” stood out to us, we’ll tell you; or if you have your own favorite snippet, let us know and if it fits, we'll post it. Tell us if you want us to show your name. We want to give you credit, but like the winning essays – we will only show your name with your permission.
Again, thank you for being a part of our contest, and we hope you will return next year to challenge yourself with a different prompt.
At a January 26, 2020, town hall meeting with aspiring Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor Pete Buttigieg, in regard to a pro-life Democrat's question regarding inclusion in the party, the moderator rephrased the citizen’s concern as, "WHAT DO YOU SAY TO DEMOCRATS WHO ARE PRO-LIFE… ON AN ISSUE OF SUCH DEEP CONSCIENCE – THAT THEY SHOULD OVERLOOK THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE AND LOOK AT THE WHOLE SUM OF VIEWS? OR GO FIND ANOTHER PARTY?" Buttigieg sidestepped the question, declining the chance to welcome them in the party, and other Democratic presidential candidates appear to have the same attitude. BUT HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND?
$2,500 to the Winner
$1,000 to the 1st Runner Up
$ 500 to the 2nd Runner Up
Rules & Essay Submission
- March 1, 2020 to June 7, 2020
- Age 17 - 26
- Full Time Student or Forthcoming Full Time Student
- 500-800 words
- American Citizenship or DACA
Previous Year's Winning Essays
Previous years essays for reference only. Not meant to channel originality or creativity.