Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Rochester
2019 Essay Contest
First prize: $250 Second Prize: $100 Third Prize: $50
Topic: “I think the first duty of society is justice.” Alexander Hamilton, sometimes attributed to Wendell Phillips.
IMPORTANT! Please note the change in the deadline for essay submissions to MARCH 15, 2019.
You may address the topic from any point of view. You may discuss others’ treatments of the
question or present a discussion comprised fully of your own thoughts. If you choose, you may
address how the quote applies to whatever version of “society” you choose (i.e.; community,
state, nation, global). You may choose to discuss who bears the responsibility for assuring
justice. You may make calls for action related to your thoughts. Please note that the suggestions
above are not intended to be restrictive or comprehensive guidelines for your essay. You may
take a different approach to the essay, arguing for an alternative definition of the first duty of
society. You do not need to cover all the suggestions given above.
Submit your electronic essay submission and official entry form to HRCREssayContest@gmail.com Any questions may also be addressed to the same gmail address.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Rochester invites all area students in grades 10-12 to
demonstrate their writing skill and creative ideas in this Essay Contest. You can take any
position, argue any point, and espouse any cause in relation to this theme…so long as the
work is your own and no one else’s. We are looking for students with fresh perspectives,
well-reasoned arguments, and excellent verbal skills. If you have a passion for ideas and a
knack for writing, this is your chance to shine.
1. Any student currently attending school in the Greater Rochester Area in
Grades 10, 11 or 12 may enter by completing the entry form and submitting a
qualifying essay. Children of members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of
Rochester (“HRCR”) are not eligible to enter. No purchase, entry fee or other
payment is required. Information provided on the entry form will be used
solely for purposes of this Contest.
2. Entries must be sent by electronic mail unless permission is given to submit
paper entries. Submit electronic essays to HRCREssayContest@gmail.com
An entry form is also required and is available from the Harvard-
Radcliffe Club of Rochester website: http://hrcrochester.clubs.harvard.edu
You should keep a copy of your essay for reference. We cannot assume
responsibility for delayed, misdirected or lost email.
3. Entries shall be no more than 1,000 words long. ESSAY MUST CONSIST
SOLELY OF THE ENTRANT’S ORIGINAL WORK AND MUST NOT BE
ENTERED IN ANY OTHER CONTEST. Though an essay may contain ideas
or facts derived from research, the expression of these must be exclusively in
the entrant’s own words. No editing, correction or other assistance by anyone
else, nor borrowing of another’s language without attribution, is permitted.
Any entrant who is discovered to have received such assistance in preparing an
entry will be disqualified. (If discovery occurs after a prize has been awarded,
the prize will be forfeited and repaid to HRCR.)
4. The theme of the essay shall be: “I think the first duty of society is justice.”
Potential winners shall be selected according to the following criteria: (a)
originality of ideas, (b) persuasiveness of arguments, (c) relevance to the
theme, (d) effectiveness of expression, (e) and appropriate length. The panel
of judges shall consist of members of HRCR and other qualified persons
selected by HRCR, whose decisions in all matters shall be final and binding on
5. The Prizes are: one First Prize of $250
one Second Prize of $100
one Third Prize of $50
HRCR reserves the right to withhold awarding any or all of the prizes if the
judges decide the entries are of insufficient merit.
6. All entries become the property of HRCR and may be retained or disposed of
in its sole discretion, but copyright in each entry will remain with the entrant.
Any taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the winners or their
7. Sponsor: Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Rochester, Inc.
Jane Shuffelton, Contest Administrator
IMPORTANT: Entry form included below as a clickable attachment