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 Essay Challenge is open to all 9th through 12th grade students. Review the rules and guidelines for the 500-750 word essay on the 2018 theme: courage.
President Gerald R. Ford lived what many people would define as a life of courage. From overcoming family adversity as a child to standing up for his beliefs in college to becoming President of the United States during a time of deep political divide and social unrest, President Ford demonstrated tremendous courage. Examples of courage can be found all throughout our history as well as in our own, everyday lives. Is there someone in history or in your own personal life that you believe exemplifies this character trait? Reflect on your interpretation of courage and share your thoughts in an essay.
NOTE: The 2018 Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge has announced
its Finalists and Winners! Please check back in January 2019 for information
on the 2019 Gerald R. Ford Student Essay Challenge.
Submit your 2018 Essay Online by March 12, 2018
NEW THIS YEAR! 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.
- Easily submit your Essay today via our online submission by uploading a PDF
- Or, submit your Essay by Mail to the following address by March 12, 2018:
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: email@example.com / 616-254-0409
Kailie West: firstname.lastname@example.org
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