Each year the theme for the President Gerald R. Ford Scholarship Essay Challenge reflects on an important part of Gerald R. Ford’s character. High school students from public, private, city, suburban, rural and home schools participate in the contest. Finalists are chosen and recognized at a special awards program at the Museum.
The President Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge is open to all 9th through 12th grade students. Review the rules and guidelines for the 500-750 word essay on the 2019 theme: civility.
“I have always believed that most people are mostly good, most of the time. I have never mistaken moderation for weakness, nor civility for surrender. As far as I’m concerned, there are no enemies in politics–just temporary opponents who might vote with you on the next Roll Call.”
~ President Gerald R. Ford
We invite you to write a 500-750 word essay sharing your thoughts about civility. Some ideas include: What does civility mean to you? How might we create a sense of civility in both our social circles and our government? Have you had an experience where, through civility, people were able to find common ground? Is there someone you admire for their sense of civility?
Submit your 2019 Essay by March 11, 2019
Students are invited to submit entries online. To enter online, please click link for online submission below. If mailing your essay, please submit to address provided below.
The 2019 deadline for submissions has passed. Due to the high volume of entries, finalists will be
notified by April 19th, 2019. Winning entries will be posted on this site in May.
- Easily submit your Essay today by uploading a PDF via our online submission
- Or, submit your Essay by Mail to the following address by March 11, 2019:
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
c/o Clare Shubert
303 Pearl Street, NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Follow this link to find some helpful resources and suggestions for the pre-writing, writing, and revision process of your scholarship essay.
Utilize the following contacts for questions on the Essay Contest and submissions.
- President Gerald R. Ford Scholarship Essay Contest Contacts
Clare Shubert: firstname.lastname@example.org / 616-254-0409
2018 Winners (View photos from the 2018 awards program)
First Place: Aneeqa Hasan, Forest Hills Central High School
Second Place: Melanie Roelofs, Plymouth Christian High School
Third Place: Aunner Calderon, Union High School
Megan Grant, Newaygo Public High School
Emily LaRue, Grand Rapids Christian High School
Tina Nguyen, Forest Hills Eastern High School
Ryann Reese, Ferndale High School
Top Finalist Awards:
Suki Rajan, Forest Hills Eastern High School
Landyn Teachout, Grandville High School
Reian Zhang, City High Middle School
Out-of-State Award Winner:
Carrie Hathaway, Geneseo Middle/High School