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California Freethought Day

High School Essay Scholarship

High School Essay Scholarship

The following details are still being updated from our prior year.

About our 2021 Essay Scholarship

We are offering a $1,000 scholarship to a California high school student inspired to reflect on our Core Values in an essay.

For details about our other scholarship, the Haiku Contest, click here.

Educators: Download our flyer for your classroom!

California Freethought Day is now celebrating its 20th year giving us opportunity to reflect upon our Core Values.

We are offering a $1,000 scholarship to a California high school student inspired to join us in this reflection, answering this question:

How can science, activism, social justice, secularism, or freethought give you a brighter future?

Applications for the California Freethought Day High School Scholarship are due by 11:59 p.m. PDT on September 16, of the current year.

Who are we Looking for?

To be eligible, an applicant must:

If this sounds like you, you should apply.

How to Apply

We would like applicants to submit a 300- to 500-word essay answering this prompt:

After writing your essay, you may click here to apply for our scholarship. You will need to upload your essay in either PDF, DOC, or DOCX formats.


Shortly after the deadline, members of the California Freethought Day Scholarship Committee will review the submissions. We’ll select the scholarship winner based on the originality, creativity, and quality of the submitted essay. Preference will be given to students who have exhibited involvement and leadership in community organizations or school clubs.


We’ll notify the winner by the last day of September.

The winner, and their family, will be invited (but not required) to attend the Fundraising Reception and California Freethought Day in October. Both events will be held in Sacramento.  

If our live event cannot take place, and we premiere an online-only video event instead, we will ask the winner to record a video reciting their winning essay.

Additional Rules and Conditions

In addition to the text above, the following rules and conditions apply.

All rules and policies from our Code of Conduct and Privacy page. Applicants may opt-in to email communications if they desire.

Current Board members, Committee members, and agents of California Freethought Day and their immediate family members (defined as spouse, parents, siblings, and children) are not eligible to win.

Limit one (1) application and submission per person.

Responses that are obscene, pornographic, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable will be disqualified.

All applications and submissions become the property of California Freethought Day and will not be returned.

California Freethought Day assumes no responsibility for lost, late, misdirected, or unintelligible entries.

All submissions must consist of original material.

Should the winner decide to attend any California Freethought Day event, the winner will be responsible for travel and lodging expenses and must abide by our Code of Conduct.

The winner will receive a check to be used toward their postsecondary education expenses.

The judges’ decision is final.

By submitting an application and submission, applicant (or, if a minor, his/her parent or legal guardian) agrees that California Freethought Day may, without any limitation or further compensation or notice, use his or her name, voice and/or likeness in any and all media, worldwide, for the purpose of advertising and promoting the website, California Freethought Day, the scholarship program, or any other promotion, contest, or sweepstakes of California Freethought Day.

The name of the scholarship prize recipient and their winning submission may be posted on any or all of California Freethought Day’s websites and social media channels.

By submitting an application and submission, applicant (or, if a minor, his/her parent or legal guardian) grants to California Freethought Day a worldwide perpetual non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, distribute and exploit the material submitted, including the worldwide copyright and any extensions, renewals, revivals, reversions and restorations thereof, for any educational, promotional, or other purpose. Applicant further agrees that California Freethought Day and its designees may edit and modify the submission and all elements of it in any and all media now known or not currently known, throughout the world in perpetuity without compensation, permission, or notification to applicant or any third party. Notwithstanding the foregoing, applicant shall be entitled to terminate the license granted to California Freethought Day hereunder upon written notice to California Freethought Day after a period of five years from the date applicant submits the application and submission.

Each person who enters this scholarship program represents and warrants to California Freethought Day as follows: (i) the application and submission, including any written content, are the applicant’s own original, previously unpublished, and previously unproduced work; (ii) the application and submission, including any written content, neither infringes upon nor violates the intellectual property rights or other rights of any other person or entity; (iii) the application and submission, including any written content, does not and will not violate any applicable laws, and meets the official rules set forth herein. Each applicant hereby agrees to indemnify and hold California Freethought Day harmless from and against any and all third party claims, actions, or proceedings of any kind and from any and all damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses relating to or arising out of any breach or alleged breach of any of the warranties, representations or agreements of applicant hereunder.

California Freethought Day shall have no obligation (express or implied) to use any winning submission, or to otherwise exploit a winning submission or continue the development, production, distribution, or exploitation thereof, and California Freethought Day may at any time abandon the use of the winning submission for any reason, with or without legal justification or excuse, and the scholarship prize recipients shall not be entitled to any damages or other relief by reason thereof.

By submitting an application and submission, you fully and unconditionally accept and agree to these official rules and the decisions of California Freethought Day, which are final and binding.

For More Information, Contact, and Questions

Questions regarding the scholarship can be directed to


We would like to recognize Scholarship Impact for their assistance with this scholarship.