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Student Essay Challenge

Each year the theme for the President Gerald R. Ford Essay Challenge reflects on an important part of Gerald Ford’s character. During the 2012 – 2013 school year students were asked to write about “Liberty”. Over 500 high school students from public and private, city, suburban, rural, and home schools participated.

The result was a diverse and thought-provoking selection of essays. The 18 finalists are recognized each year at a special awards program at the Museum the evening of President’s Day. The Essay Challenge is a collaboration between the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.

Essay Challenge Rules and Guidelines
for the 2013 – 2014 School year

Please note, click on the names of the winners to read their essays

2013 Winners

First Place: Olivia McLean, 12th Grade, Forest Hills Eastern High School
Second Place: Olivia Marie Rice, 12th Grade, Schoolcraft High School
Third Place: Brooklyn Wilson, 9th Grade, Grand Rapids Catholic Central

 2012 Winners

First Place: Grady Sertic, 12th Grade, Portage Central High School
Second Place: Samantha Kay Dickson, 11th Grade, Allendale High School
Third Place: Sarah Hartlieb, 12th Grade, Schoolcraft High School

2011 Winners

First Place: Emilee Ritz, 12th Grade, Forest Hills Northern High School
Second Place: Steve Jakubowski, 10th Grade, Catholic Central High School
Third Place: John Veldkamp, 9th Grade, Calvin Christian High School

2010 Winners

First Place: Martha Veldkamp, 12th Grade, Calvin Christian High School
Second Place: Sara DenBraber, 9th Grade, Catholic Center High School
Third Place: Rachel McDaniel, 12th Grade, Allegan High School

2009 Winners

First Place: Steven Harwood, 12th Grade, Northview High School
Second Place: Sarah Legault, 11th Grade, Forest Hills Northern High School
Third Place: Joanna Chen, 11th Grade, Forest Hills Northern High School