Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Rochester
2020 Essay Contest
First prize: $250 Second Prize: $100 Third Prize: $50
Topic: “Failure is impossible” (Susan B. Anthony)
IMPORTANT! Please note: the deadline for essay submissions to MARCH 15, 2020.
Susan B. Anthony’s best-known quote is often cited as “Failure is impossible.” Her actual words were: “There is just one
thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” As we approach the 100 th anniversary of the passage
of the 19 th amendment, it is worth considering how her quote might apply today. In your opinion, do her words apply to
a current cause that is important to you and/or important to today’s world? You may choose to cite and describe a cause that
is worth fighting for today. Alternatively, you may argue for the absence of a cause that can stir people’s dreams like the
movement that gave women the right to vote. You may address the topic from any point of view. 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 interpretation of the
quote. Your treatment of the topic should be in the form of an essay, not a letter or a poem.
Submit your electronic essay 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.
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: “Failure is impossible.” 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 all parties.
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