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 2013 – 2014 school year students were asked to write about “Courage”. 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.

The 2015 Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge theme is “The Meaning of Integrity Today”.
2015 Student Essay Challenge Rules and Guidelines

2014 Winners
First Place:
Second Place:
Third Place:

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

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