The National Student Essay Competition offers students in grades 6 through 8, grades 9 through 12, and those at universities and colleges an opportunity to reflect on the importance of a free press and to compete for $15,000 in cash awards from the Boston Globe Foundation and a full, four-year scholarship, current total value $152,000, at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

“Many of our students are now at home with far fewer activities and extra time. This contest is a great way to consider the crucial role the press is playing during this crisis while also competing for significant awards,” commented Mary Kay Lazarus, National Student Essay Competition Director.

Essays will be judged on originality and thoughtfulness in addressing the topic of “Why a free press matters in a democracy.” Students are asked to email their essay as a Word document of 500 words maximum, typed and double-spaced, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All entries must include the student’s name, phone number, e-mail address, mailing address, name and department of the school and grade in which the student is currently enrolled, as well as the name of the local news outlet. The deadline is April 24. For more information about the competition, the sponsors and the Honorary Advisory Committee, go to https://mklpr.com/national-student-essay-competition.

The competition is funded by the McCarthey Family Foundation. The Boston Globe is the media sponsor. The cash awards and scholarship will be given at the 15th Annual McCarthey Family Foundation Lecture Series: In Praise of Independent Journalism, on Nov. 7 in Salt Lake City.