2018 John Sexton Essay Contest
Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chair)
Professor of Philosophy & Law,
New York University
Founder & Editor-in-chief,
One Day Magazine
Uncommon Collegiate Charter
Uncommon Leadership Charter
New York City District 2
The John Sexton Scholars Program invited all currently enrolled NYC high school students to participate in the John Sexton Essay Contest. The competition challenged students to write an original and creative essay for one of the following prompts (choose one) :
1) An article in the Economist stated, “Myanmar’s governments have never granted them [Rohingya] citizenship or even recognized them as an indigenous ethnic group. Bangladesh does not allow the Rohingyas citizenship, either.” However, Myanmar and Bangladesh both have signed or ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees “the right to a nationality.” Would shaming these countries, since they have not lived up to their commitment, be an effective way to bring positive change to the Rohingya population?
2) Describe three challenges currently faced by the Rohingya Refugee Community and how high school students can collaborate to alleviate these challenges.
Rules & Rubric
Who May Enter
All currently enrolled NYC high school students (grades 9-12).
How to Submit An Essay
Essays must be submitted electronically via email to email@example.com no later than 11:59 pm EST on January 31, 2018.
Essays must include a cover sheet with the following information: (1) name and address; (2) email address; (3) name of currently enrolled high school; (4) current grade level.
Essays must be submitted double-spaced in a PDF document.
Only one entry per student may be submitted.
Essay must be no more than 500 words in length and double-spaced.
Essays must use at least three varied sources such as newspaper articles, books, letters, and/or YouTube videos. Sources must be documented with citations and a bibliography.
The Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization.
1st Place Winner: will receive a $300 Amazon gift card, a certificate or plaque from John Sexton at our event, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by the Hudson Motors & Body Shop Inc)
2nd Place Winner: will receive a $200 Amazon gift card, a certificate or plaque from John Sexton at our event, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by Rashed Khan & Tarikul Islam)
3rd Place Winner: will receive a $100 Amazon gift card, a certificate or plaque from John Sexton at our event, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by Shima Aktar & Sheik Hasan)
Winners will be notified and invited to our event with one member of their family via email by February 15, 2018.
Content will count for 75 percent and the following parameters will be considered:
Focus: Insightfully develops a thesis on the topic
Supporting Evidence: critical analysis of the question, well-researched, and convincing arguments with specific examples
Source Material: bibliography of three or more varied sources
Presentation will count for 25 percent and the following parameters will be considered:
Quality of Writing: clarity, flow, vocabulary, and style
Organization: introduction, conclusion, and structure,
Conventions: spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation
We recommend that you peruse the learn more page to further research about the Rohingya Crisis before writing your essay.
The following links are recommended to improve your essay content:
If you choose to work on essay prompt one, please watch the following lecture before working on your essay: Kwame Anthony Appiah - The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCff5JFFVU0)
Purdue Online Writing Lab is an online writing center which provides free writing and instructional handouts: (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/)
Please follow our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page for tips and advice on how to approach the essay.
The John Sexton Scholars Program reserves the right to print and display the essays and photographs of the contest winners.
All entries become the property of the John Sexton Scholars Program and will not be returned.
Decisions of the John Sexton Essay Contest Committee are final.