Essay Contest PDF
The purpose of this contest is two-fold: to help educate young people about the importance of open-government principles; and to honor the memory of the late Scott Johnson, a former Washington Coalition for Open Government board member.
The contest is open to current juniors and seniors in all Washington public and private high schools, as well as home-schooled students at the equivalent stage of their education.
The winner will receive a $1,000 prize. Other awards may be made at the discretion of the judges and with approval of the WCOG board of directors. The award will be presented to the winner in his or her home school district in May or June.
The winning essay will also be published in The Seattle Times as part of its Newspaper in Education Program. This publication of the essay is made possible through the support of the Stokes Lawrence law firm, primary sponsor of the essay contest, Clark Raymond & Company, certified public accountants, and The Times.
The contest is co-sponsored by WCOG and Stokes Lawrence, the Seattle law firm where Johnson spent most of his career as an attorney.
2013 Essay Contest Topic
"Open government" is a very broad term. For the Washington Coalition for Open Government, the term is understood as the people's right to know what their public officials are doing; what decisions they are making; and how they are spending the taxpayers' money. Such openness is essential to democracy.
Contestants should first familiarize themselves with the Coalition's work at www.washingtoncog.org. In particular, read the articles written by coalition members that discuss real-life issues involving either or both public record and public meetings at www.washingtoncog.org/oped.php.
With these articles and other information on the websites for background, and drawing on any other research, contestants are to answer the question:
"Why do Washington citizens need the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act, and how would government be different if we did not have them?"
- Clearness of expression and thought
- Demonstrated understanding of the Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act Has one real-life example
- Submitted essay is 500 to 700 words.
- Represents the original work of the contestant
- Care has been taken to avoid plagiarism – the deliberate copying of material written by others. Use proper attribution.
The entry deadline, originally announced as March 29, is now April 19. Entries must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by that date. The essays may be sent as plain text in the body of the email, or as Word or PDF attachments. Each email entry should include the contestant's name, age, home address, telephone number, email address, the school currently attending and if known, the school or college the entrant will attend in the fall of 2013. No contestant may submit more than one entry.
The decision of the judges is final and non-reviewable.
All essay entries become the property of the Washington Coalition for Open Government and may be reproduced and distributed as the organization sees fit, including publication on the group's website. By submitting an essay, each contestant grants permission for WCOG to use his or her name and photograph for publicity purposes, including announcement of the winner.
Then 2013 winner was notified by May 10, 2013 and presented with the award.
For more information about the contest or the Washington Coalition for Open Government, contact email@example.com.
2013 Winning Essays:
1st Place Winner, Daniel Manwell: Click here to read essay
Runner Up, Nicole Laliberte: Click here to read essay
|Stokes Lawrence is proud to be the primary sponsor of the Washington Coalition for Open Government's Scott Johnson Open Government Essay. Scott was a long-time shareholder at Stokes Lawrence and active with open government and First Amendment issues. He previously served as the Coalition's director. Following Scott's untimely passing in October 2012, the Coalition was a primary beneficiary of memorials collected in Scott's name by the Stokes Lawrence Foundation.
Stokes Lawrence, with offices in Seattle and Yakima, represents individuals, entrepreneurs and their families, small businesses, non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. Please visit stokeslaw.com for further information. |