Submit by March 31, 2023








Winners have been announced!

See the full list here.

Every year, we hold an essay contest to give your students an opportunity to express themselves and win great prizes. This year, we’re giving away over $12,000. And we have prizes for teachers, too!

Students have three topics to choose from, allowing them to write on the subject that speaks to them the most.

Our contest is open to students in grades 5-12, age 10-18, residing in North America, Hawaii, or at a U.S. military address.  The deadline to submit is 11:59PM Eastern on Friday, March 31, 2023. Students may submit their essays to us directly, or have them submitted by a teacher or parent.

Winners will be announced in June 2023. For topics and complete rules, see below.

Do your students prefer making videos to writing essays? Our Video Contest is perfect for them!

FIRST PLACE – High School Division: $2,500

FIRST PLACE – Middle School Division: $2,500

SECOND PLACE – High School Division: $1,000

SECOND PLACE – Middle School Division: $1,000

THIRD PLACE – High School Division: $500

THIRD PLACE – Middle School Division: $500

10 FINALISTS – $200 each (5 finalists from each division)

10 SEMI-FINALISTS – $100 each (selected from among the top 10 essays in each division)

25 HONORABLE MENTIONS – $50 each (selected from among the top 25 essays in each division)

• For each submission, you’ll receive an entry into a drawing for one of twenty $25 Amazon gift cards.

• If you reach 30 submissions, you’ll receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

• The teacher with the most submissions will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.

• Entries in our Video Contest count, too!

Teachers and students may choose from any one of these three topics. Find the one that suits your class best, or let your students decide for themselves.

The American Constitution in Our Lives

The U.S. Constitution is often called “the law of the land.” Many people question the meaning of parts of the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions often lead some to question the value and relevance of the Constitution today. Several recent Supreme Court decisions have led to protests and have added to the political strife the United States faces.

How does the Constitution affect us on a day-to-day basis? Does it need to be amended? If yes, what amendments should be made? If no, what’s your argument for not amending it?

Write a 500-1,000 word essay about the meaning of the American Constitution in our country and in our lives.

You might want to look at our Constitution module to help you get started.

Inflation: Root Causes and Community Impact

Inflation has been in the headlines for the past few months. Prices of rent, food, gas, transportation, and other essentials have increased. Economic and government policy experts disagree about the causes of our current inflation.

Write a 500-1,000 word essay about inflation. Explain what inflation is, how inflation erodes purchasing power, who hurts the most from it, and what caused the inflation we currently face. If you have seen your family or community impacted, we encourage you to include personal examples that support your position.

You might want to look at two of our Both Sides modules to help you get started:

• Both Sides: Stimulus & Inflation

• Both Sides: Inflation Revisited

Economics in the Wild

Economics isn’t just a subject taught in the classroom. It’s all around us, part of our daily lives. We can see economic concepts, such as supply/demand, scarcity, trade, opportunity cost, and others, at home, in laws passed and enforced by governments, and in innovations.

What economic activities do you see in your daily life? Document one or more real-life examples of economics in action and use those examples to illustrate economic concepts in an engaging and interesting way. How do the examples and concepts apply to your life?

Write a 500-1,000 word essay about economic activities and how they demonstrate or refute concepts you have been taught or have heard or read about in the news.

You might want to look at The Rise of Citizen Journalists to help you get started.


All essays should specifically address one of the three Essay Topics listed above.

Eligibility – The contest is open to writers in grades 5-12, (ages 10-18) at some point during the contest period September 1, 2022-March 31, 2023. No more than one submission will be accepted for each essay writer. Writers must be located in North America, Hawaii, or a U.S. military address, and all submissions should be in English. Employees of Stossel in the Classroom, Stossel TV, and Center for Independent Thought, or any person or organization involved in the operation and/or setup of the contest, and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Previous winners of a Stossel in the Classroom first place prize are not eligible for prizes in our subsequent contests.

Essay Length – Essays must be 500-1,000 words in length. Submissions that do not meet this requirement, or that exceed it, will be disqualified. If an essay exceeds the word limit due to a “Works cited” page or bibliography, it will not be disqualified. If an essay would not meet the word minimum without its “Works cited” page or biblography, it will not be disqualified.

Deadline – Essays must be submitted no later than 11:59pm Eastern Time, March 31, 2023.

Plagiarism – All essays must be the original work of the student whose name is listed on the submission form. Plagiarism will result in immediate disqualification.

Taxes – Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state, or local taxes on winnings.

Judges – Essays will be judged on their ability to answer the topic question in an articulate, clear, and organized manner. Stossel in the Classroom will evaluate essay submissions in a fair and unbiased four-round judging system, in which judges all use the same criteria. Judges will be selected by Stossel in the Classroom based on their backgrounds and expertise in education, writing, and the subject matter. Decisions of the judges are final.

Ownership and Use – The ownership of any submission remains the property of the writer, but entry into the competition constitutes the entrant’s permission and consent, without compensation, with or without attribution, for Stossel in the Classroom, Stossel TV, and Center for Independent Thought to use, reproduce, transmit, post, distribute, adapt, edit, and/or display the submission.


  • Proofread your essay before it’s submitted. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar count.
  • Be mindful of the 500-1,000 word requirement.
  • Be original. To win the top prize, your essay needs to stand out among thousands.
  • Cite your sources and check your facts.

If you have any questions about our contests, please email us at

We look forward to reading your essay. Good luck!