2019 John Sexton Essay Contest
United Nations & New York Program Director,
Burma Task Force
Uncommon Collegiate Charter
Associate Professor of Law,
CUNY School of Law
Founder & CEO,
Princeton Alpha Management LP
Musician & College Advisor,
Baccalaureate School for
Charter High School
Founder & Editor-in-chief,
One Day Magazine
The John Sexton Scholars Program invited all currently enrolled NYC, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut high school students to participate in the 2019 John Sexton Essay Contest. The competition challenged students to write an original and creative essay for the following prompt:
In a New York Times article, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stated that “returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar at this point effectively means throwing them back into the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades.” Explain at least two measures that should be taken by Myanmar or the international community to ensure that the conditions in Myanmar will not continue this cycle of violations upon the Rohingya’s return.
Rules & Rubric
Who May Enter
All currently enrolled NYC, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut high school students (grades 9-12).
How to Submit An Essay
Essays must be submitted electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 11:59 pm EST on April 25, 2019.
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 $500 Visa gift card, a plaque from John Sexton at our event, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by the Burma Task Force)
2nd Place Winner: will receive a $300 Visa gift card, a plaque from John Sexton at our event, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by John Sexton Scholars Program Team)
3rd Place Winner: will receive a $200 Visa gift card, a plaque from John Sexton at our event, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by Rakan Shafi)
Two Honorable Mentions: will each receive a $50 Visa gift card, a plaque from John Sexton, and will have their essay posted on our website. (Sponsored by Burma Task Force)
Winners will be notified and invited to our event via email by June 15, 2019.
Content will count for 75% 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% 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
The following links are recommended to improve your essay content:
Please watch the following interview before working on your essay: Kwame Anthony Appiah on the Rohingya Crisis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GW6b_ATfyc)
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.
Previous year winners are not eligible to compete in the contest.
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.