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Accepting Entries: Knights of Columbus "Catholic Citizenship" Scholarship Essay Contest

Updated: May 12, 2021

Back in November, the Assembly announced that it would be developing a Scholarship Essay Contest for the incoming Freshman class of students at Ozark Catholic Academy. That contest is now live and entrants will have until Monday May 17th at 5pm to complete and return their Essay Application and Essay.

This year, the scholarship will be given in honor of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the only Roman Catholic to sign the American Declaration of Independence. Raised a devout Catholic, and the recipient of a Catholic education, Carroll was legally barred from holding public office in the English Colonies due to his Catholic faith. However, legal religious discrimination did not stop him from becoming an influential and productive voice in Colonial affairs, and his peers referred to him as “the First Citizen of the Colonies.”

Later, during the American Revolution, he was elected to represent Maryland as a member of the Continental Congress and went on to serve as the first US Senator from Maryland. In his political life, Carroll was one of the most outspoken and influential voices in the call for religious liberty in the United States. Because of his influence and legacy, the legal discrimination against Roman Catholics in the colonies gave way to a system of Constitutionally-supported religious freedom for all people of all faiths, and remains today in the United States. Charles Carroll was chosen as the inspiration for this year’s essay contest because he was a Catholic layman who used his resources and Catholic education to help shape the future of America. As a Catholic layperson, consider what resources you have and think about how you can shape America for the good.

Inspired by Carroll's example, this year the Fourth Degree Assembly will be offering a Scholarship named in Carroll's Honor. We are looking for visionaries like Charles Carroll, who can identify a challenge or difficulty in American society and identify solutions how to productively address it. The official question that the entrants will be asked to answer is:

"What is the most difficult thing about being Catholic in America today? Explain why you feel that way with concrete examples and details to support your position. What are three things that you can do to help yourself and other Catholic-Americans to overcome that challenge? Make sure to explain your thought process on why you believe those three things will help. Be specific, be realistic, and be creative in the solution(s) you propose."

The essays will be evaluated on a number of criteria including how completely they answered the assigned question -- especially the merits of the overall content, grammar, and style with which the essay was written. Of course, it is also expected that the solutions offered are authentically Catholic and are consistent with the beliefs, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church.

While we believe that all students will benefit from participating in this exercise, only one student will be awarded the $500 scholarship. That scholarship will come as a one-time payment of $500 made directly to Ozark Catholic Academy to off-set the winning student's tuition during the Fall of his or her Freshman year. All 8th Grade students planning to attend Ozark Catholic Academy as Freshmen in the Fall of 2021-2022 are encouraged to enter. Through this program, the Knights are interested to learn more about the challenges faced by young Catholics in America today and to unlock the creativity of Ozark Catholic Academy in addressing them.

Students interested in participating should download and complete the Entry Form & Parental Permission Document located below. This should be stapled to the front of the students typed, double-spaced essay. A competitive essay should be 750 - 1000 words (no more than 4 pages double-spaced) and should address all elements of the Essay Prompt. Official Rules and eligibility requirements are detailed in the .pdf below. Essays can be returned to the main offices at Ozark Catholic Academy, St. Joseph Catholic School, or St. Vincent DePaul Catholic School. Look for the official Knights of Columbus Assembly #3101 Essay return box.

Good luck to all the incoming Freshman at Ozark Catholic Academy! We are proud to support you in this small way.

Official Rules and Entry Form:

K of C Essay Contest 2021
Download PDF • 231KB

Please Print, Get Parental Signature of Permission, and Return With Final Essay.

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